Published: Jan 1948
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In my younger days when I was farming in western Kansas, no one worried about a standardized tractor fuel. Kerosine was the standard fuel. As for octane number, the term wasn't known at that time. If the tractor knocked excessively, we turned on more water or tried to lighten the load. In those days our first concern was to get the tractor started, and then we wondered how long it would run before we had to search the countryside for repairs. A lot of changes have taken place since that time, and I think everyone welcomes the many improvements made in farm tractors. Improvements have also been made in the burning qualities of fuels and, as a result, more efficient tractor engines have been developed. Because of improved tractors and fuels, we have seen an ever growing tractor population, as pointed out by Mr. Everett. Improvement in tractor engines and general design has made the tractor more usable and has caused the farmer to demand the improved tractor fuels. Professor Barger told us what the farmer wants in a tractor fuel. It is the improvement in tractor engines plus the advancements yet to come that make Mr. Bowers interested in the fuels that will be available for tractors when farmers operate their tractors at full power. Mr. Anderson discussed another problem, the complexity of tractor fuels and their taxation which confronts everyone interested in tractors and tractor fuels. In fact, these tax problems are the primary reasons for tractor owners today considering the use of tractor fuels heavier than gasoline. Actually, the tractor owner with the many improvements in his modern tractor, such as starter, lights, rubber tires, etc., wants a volatile fuel, and in states where the tax problem does not appreciably increase his fuel costs, gasoline is the fuel which a majority of the farmers—even owners of two-fuel tractors—now use. My assignment on this program is to discuss “The Effect of State Tax Regulations and State Specifications on Tractor Fuels from the Petroleum Industry Standpoint.” This tractor fuel problem is not a new one, it has been discussed for the past ten to fifteen years. But like the weather, although much discussed, little has been done about it. Perhaps now that scientists have discovered how, by the use of an airplane and a little dry ice or water, they can make it rain or snow, A.S.T.M. Committee D-2 will not consider its problem hopeless and will make progress in standardizing tractor fuels advantageous to the farmer, to the states, to the tractor industry, and to the petroleum industry.
Hinkle, C. N.
Tractor Representative, Standard Oil Company (Indiana), Chicago, Ill.