Fuel Mileage Gadgets Save the Environment One Car at a Time: Fact or Fiction?

June 1st, 2011
Fuel mileage is an important topic of discussion for most consumers whether purchasing a vehicle or trying to get better mileage on the vehicle they currently own or lease. With there being such a need to get better fuel economy, there are companies that have developed products that claim to save fuel.

Fuel mileage cannot be increased by gimmicks, don't believe the ads. Photo by Carolyn O'Hara, Passport

DETROIT, M.I. – Fuel mileage is an important topic of discussion for most consumers whether purchasing a vehicle or trying to get better mileage on the vehicle they currently own or lease. With there being such a need to get better fuel economy, there are companies that have developed products that claim to save fuel.

The question is: Are these products putting savings back in your wallets or taking it from them?

Companies use many tactics to try and convince consumers they can increase their fuel mileage and save on gas with simple products that attach or otherwise accessorize the vehicle to save money. Claims include:

  • “This gas-saving product improves fuel economy by 20 percent.”
  • “After installing your product on my car, I got an extra 4 miles per gallon.”
  • “This gas-saving device is approved by the Federal government.”

The last on the list is may be an advertisement that works better than others, but be warned: no government agency endorses gas-savings products for any vehicles. Rather, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has actually done tests on almost 100 gas-saving products to see if any of them work as claimed.

The EPA has tested products 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,” according to Bankrate.com.

The final score: none of them increased any fuel mileage or saved gas. Some instead harmed the engines and their components.

As stated by John Millett, a spokesman for the EPA, in an article appearing on MSN, “They don’t work. 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 any claims like that.”

Some gadgets that claim to save on fuel include:

Fuel Doctor $59.99 …claims to clean the electronic control unit’s electricity and help the engine run more efficiently while connected to the cigarette lighter. More efficient means less fuel.
Fuel Genie $89.95 …a plastic device with curved blades that fits inside the air-intake hose. The airflow is supposed to allow for better performance.
Tornado Fuel Saver $49.95 …similar to the Fuel Genie. Sold for carbureted and fuel-injected engines. Supposed to allow for better performance.
Platinum Gas Saver $124.00 …claims the device is guaranteed to increase fuel mileage by 22 percent and extend engine life by cleaning out abrasive carbon deposits by connecting a vacuum line leading to the intake manifold. Helps the car burn gas more efficiently and cleanly.

In the end, better fuel mileage or gas usage is completely dependent on the driver, the machine and the outside conditions. Simply changing the way an owner drives can save more on gas than any device that claims to do so.

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[Source(s): Jalopnik, Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Reports, MSN, BankRate.com]

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