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Thread: low-test

  1. #1
    Cynthia Garett is offline Junior Member
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    Default low-test

    Hello,

    I would like to know what does "low-test" mean here. Thank you.

    "The rain was falling harder now, a thick mist against a white-gray sky, visible above the bare trees and high ridges. The engine idled, burning low-test, $2.59 a gallon. It was Easter Sunday. I was in West Virginia."

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: low-test

    From the context, it sounds like a type of fuel. However, a Google search for "low-test fuel" revealed nothing useful. I'm afraid I can't help you on this one.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  3. #3
    Gillnetter is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: low-test

    Quote Originally Posted by Cynthia Garett View Post
    Hello,

    I would like to know what does "low-test" mean here. Thank you.

    "The rain was falling harder now, a thick mist against a white-gray sky, visible above the bare trees and high ridges. The engine idled, burning low-test, $2.59 a gallon. It was Easter Sunday. I was in West Virginia."
    It's about low test gasoline. Low test is so called because it has a low energy content when compared with higher grades of gasoline. Low rest gas is cheaper than other grades.

  4. #4
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: low-test

    It's been a long time since I've seen this phrasing. It means the cheaper type of fuel, lower octane.

    A quick search using the terms high test high octane gave me this, from Urban Dictionary "Old-school term for Premium/high octane fuel." Remember -this was a search for the opposite, "high test" which I feel was used more often than "low test." The was written by someone older than 35, I'm guessing.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  5. #5
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: low-test

    Interesting. Googling "low-test gas" doesn't bring that up, nor "low-test petrol" (BrE for "gasoline"). "Low-test gasoline" finally brought up a freedictionary entry to that effect. I've never heard of it. Perhaps it was never used in BrE.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: low-test

    When you buy fuel at a petrol station (is that the right term?) do you have choices about the grade of fuel? We usually have three to choose from.

    If so, how do you refer to the three grades? These days you don't really hear "high test" or "low test" but I can't tell you how it's labeled at the pump. I think "premium" for the highest, but I just don't notice any more.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  7. #7
    Gillnetter is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: low-test

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    When you buy fuel at a petrol station (is that the right term?) do you have choices about the grade of fuel? We usually have three to choose from.

    If so, how do you refer to the three grades? These days you don't really hear "high test" or "low test" but I can't tell you how it's labeled at the pump. I think "premium" for the highest, but I just don't notice any more.
    Back in the day, as they say, (after 1932) there were two choices, regular and ethyl. Ethyl was the more expensive choice. It has to do with the octane rating of the gas. Sometimes you would get a gas that so low in octane that the engine would knock. More powerful engines required a high octane gas.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: low-test

    As far as I can recall, we have "Unleaded", "Premium unleaded" or "diesel".
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  9. #9
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: low-test

    I don't know that they ever had something called "low test." Regular and high test seems more likely to me. If you were trying to sell something you would be unlikely to call it "low" anything. (Unless it was calorie or fat, but this is talking performance.)

    As Barb said, in the US we typically have three octane ratings available. Most American cars are made to work on the 87, the cheapest gas. Some high performance cars want 89 or 93, but Americans generally have an aversion to paying extra for gasoline.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: low-test

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    I don't know that they ever had something called "low test." Regular and high test seems more likely to me. If you were trying to sell something you would be unlikely to call it "low" anything. (Unless it was calorie or fat, but this is talking performance.)

    As Barb said, in the US we typically have three octane ratings available. Most American cars are made to work on the 87, the cheapest gas. Some high performance cars want 89 or 93, but Americans generally have an aversion to paying extra for gasoline.
    "Low-test" was invented as a humorous contrast to "high-test". I remember when it was common.

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