When petrol was first used in the 1920s, it was regarded as one of the most innovative things ever to be done to vehicles. When it was first started, lead was added to the petrol before it was pumped (leaded fuel). In 2000, most of Europe decided to ban the sale of petrol with lead in it because of a number of possible risks that a study found out. While this was met with much criticism initially, people soon realized that unleaded petrol was actually the better choice for their vehicles. The original leaded petrol was called four star petrol or BS4040 in Europe, and pretty soon the distribution of this type of petrol was stopped.
Lead was used to increase octanes
While you can still add an diesel engine oil additives in order to make the petrol in your car feel like leaded fuel, it is not done by a lot of people anymore. The purpose of lead in petrol was to increase the octane rating of the petrol in the tank. This was because high octane petrol had the unique ability of being able to resist the tendency of petrol to burn without warning inside the engine before it went into the pistons and the energy could be used to drive the vehicle forward. Later, lead was used in addition to this reason to protect the valve seats in the engine from the wear and tear that the uncontrolled burning of the petrol would cause.
Lead is toxic to humans and animals
However, barring the use of diesel fuel additives the original form of leaded petrol was banned from sale in most parts of the world because lead was found to be toxic to our health. This is also the reason why lead based paint was banned from houses. When breathed in or ingested, lead tended to cause a number of illnesses, the most common of which is lead poisoning. This illness can still be seen when you look at cattle that is housed in barns that haven’t been painted in a long time, because the paint used in the old days had lead in it to help improve the quality of the paint greatly.
With the recent developments in the field of oil and engineering, there is no longer any need for lead to be used as an additive, because most of the methods used in refining crude oil in the present day are able to give the petrol the octane rating it needs without having to add the material to it.