Gas-saving devices mostly a scam
Over the years, the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has tested
a myriad of gas-saving devices that burst
onto the consumer scene. These include devices
that bleed air into the carburetor or bubble
air through a container of water and antifreeze
mixture, fuel-line gadgets that heat the gas
before it enters the carburetor, magnets that
clamp to the inside or outside of the fuel
line to change the gasoline's molecular structure,
and metallic fuel line additives with dissimilar
metals that claim to ionize the fuel.
say they all have one thing in common.
"They don't work,"
says John Millett, spokesperson for the EPA.
"Believe me, if it were that easy, cars
would be built that way, especially the magnets
and whirligig devices. It's smart to be skeptical
about claims like that."
EPA to date has tested in the neighborhood of 100
gas-saving devices, the most recent at the request of the Federal Trade Commission,
and only six "indicated a very small improvement in fuel economy without
an increase in exhaust emissions."
Another four also
made the itty-bitty improvement cut, but per federal regulations, the exhaust
emission trade-offs mean consumers who slap these on their cars could face charges
of illegal tampering.
Gopal Duleep, managing director of Energy
and Environmental Analysis Inc., a technical consulting firm in Washington, D.C.,
estimates that 95 percent of the aftermarket products don't really change fuel
Popular Mechanics magazine's experts tested seven
fuel-saving products for its September
2005 issue and found no significant change in miles-per-gallon ratings. Two
actually increased fuel consumption by 20 percent, according to the writer, and
a third one melted before they could complete the test.
none of this evidence stops an eager entrepreneur from pitching his product to
people tired of watching the gas pump numbers spin.
the last 15 years or so, I've seen the same products come and go under different
names," says Roy Cox, manager of technical training and research for AAA
Automotive and author of "Improving Fuel Economy: Money in Your Pocket."
|Among the popular advertising claims the FTC is warning
folks away from:|
installing your product on my car, I got an extra 4 miles per gallon."
The trouble is, consumers aren't in a position to scientifically test their mileage
for results. The testimonial may be heartfelt, but the driver didn't take into
consideration traffic and road conditions, weather and his recent tuneup.|
gas-saving device is approved by the federal government." According
to the FTC, no government agency endorses gas-saving products for cars. The closest
they can come to truth in advertising is to say that the EPA has reached certain
conclusions about possible gas savings by testing the product or evaluating the
manufacturer's own test data.|