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Florida Automotive Journal
December 1970

The use of smoke screens and scare tactics in the current flap over lead - free gasoline was assailed yesterday by the president of American Oil Co. (Amoco).

"We must all be extra - ordinarily careful to be honest in what we say and do about the automotive emission problem," said Blaine J. Yarrington at a luncheon meeting of the Chicago Oil Men's Club.

"This is a time when we need clear vision," Mr. Yarrington said, "and clear vision isn't aided by smoke screens.  It's a time for public confidence, and public confidence isn't gained by scare tactics."

Mr. Yarrington told the gathering he has "no doubt that the way toward quick and effective control of automotive emissions begins with the elimination of lead from gasoline.  It is," he said, "only the first step and many other steps may follow."

American Oil introduced its new lead - free Amoco gasoline in the Chicago area last May.  The 91 - octane fuel is now featured in over 120 cities across the country, according to Amoco, and the firm plans to have more than 11,000 stations selling lead - free gasoline by the end of 1970.

Noting that leading oil companies have taken different directions in their search for solutions to the auto pollution problem, Mr. Yarrington said, "the ones who finish first are going to be . . . the ones who assess the problem calmly and move to solve it on a rational basis."

Announcing that he wanted to meet another charge against lead - free gasoline "head - on," Mr. Yarrington took on an issue "that has been more whispered than shouted.

"From time to time," he noted, "it has been said that the aromatics used to increase the octane rating of lead - free gasoline also contribute to the formation in automobile exhaust of substances that can cause cancer."  Citing a report by a Department of Commerce technical advisory board, Mr. Yarrington added, "the levels of these substances in auto exhaust appear to increase when lead is eliminated from gasoline . . . ."

"Lead - free gasoline," Mr. Yarrington said, "would appear to be as safe in this regard as a leaded product—and quite possibly safer.  In any event," he added, "you can be absolutely sure that this is not an area where anyone is going to gamble with the health of people."

Calling the elimination of lead from gasoline the "key step" in the "effective control of automobile emissions," Mr. Yarrington ended his talk by saying that "the only reasonable and responsible action my company could have taken was the one that, in fact, it did take:  to begin at the earliest possible moment ton offer the public a lead - free gasoline."

After positioning his company on the lead - versus - no - lead question, Mr. Yarrington took a bead on the "misleading criticism" being leveled at lead - free gasoline.  Noting that a recent "widespread advertising campaign" has charged the use of lead - free gasoline could actually increase smog formation, Mr. Yarrington pointed out that the test evaluation method used to reach the results claimed by the campaign "has been seriously questioned by many scientists."

According to Mr. Yarrington, "the claim by lead proponents is that the aromatics (used to increase octane) in lead - free gasoline are responsible" for an increase in smog - forming hydrocarbons.  "But," Mr. Yarrington said, "other reliable tests have failed to establish any connection between aromatics in gasoline and the production of smog - forming hydrocarbons."

He also noted that "research—including our own—shows that the level of all unburned hydrocarbons in exhaust is reduced by 15 per cent or more when lead free gasoline is used."  Mr. Yarrington added that with the new gasoline, "lead particulates are eliminated completely."

Conceding the fact that "on a few susceptible engines, valves were damaged after driving for 10,000 miles at speeds of 100 miles an hour" on lead - free gasoline, Mr. Yarrington pointed out that American Oil has never received a complaint of valve damage as a result of using lead - free gasoline in "55 years of experience."

He said, "our conclusion is that motorists just don't very often drive continuously for 10,000 miles at 100 miles an hour, and that the problem is not likely to be a problem at all in normal driving.

But Mr. Yarrington also noted, "if added protection against this type of driving is really necessary for motorists, it can be accomplished by including a minute amount of phosphorous additive

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