With gas prices climbing, everyone is looking for ways to improve their car’s gas mileage. Most people are aware of the standard ways to do that like slowing down, not stopping or starting quickly, keeping the tires inflated, replacing the air filter and getting a tune up. Those with a gas guzzler may be hoping for something that will really improve its gas mileage. They may be tempted to try one of the hundreds of products that are advertised to produce 20% to 60% better mileage. The question is; do those products work?
The Environmental Protection Agency has tested hundreds of these products. Not only did they not find any that significantly increase gas mileage, they found that some of them can damage the cars’ engine and increase its emissions. Some of these products boldly claim that they are approved by the Federal government or the EPA. This is a blatant lie as they do not approve or endorse any products.
There are a myriad of products claiming to increase gas mileage. They claim to work in a variety of ways. Some of them are added directly to the gas tank. These products are supposed to make the gasoline burn more completely thus improving gas mileage. They usually contain either acetone or naphthalene which is the main ingredient in mothballs. Not only do these products not work, they can damage the entire fuel system including the seals, fuel injectors and fuel pump.
Another group of products claiming to improve gas mileage are fuel line magnets which can range in price from $10 to $400. These magnets attach to the fuel line near the engine. Supposedly, the magnet breaks up clumps of gasoline molecules allowing them to be burned more efficiently. Although they do work on diesel engines, they do not work on gasoline engines.
Performance chips are another group of gas savings scams. These chips are placed on the air intake temperature sensor. The theory is that the chip spins the air so that it mixes better with the fuel and therefore burns better. The chip which is actually a resistor simply creates turbulence which slows down the air flow and may decrease gas mileage.
Another bogus gas saving device is the electronic engine ionizer. In this device the rubber capacitor blocks clip onto the spark plug wires. When one of the spark plugs fires, this device claims to use that energy to fire the spark plus in the cylinders that aren’t firing. That firing is supposed to break down the gas left in those cylinders to make the next firings more efficient. The rubber on these devices can melt onto the manifold and cause a fire. And, premature sparking can damage the engine.
There are also hydrogen generators on the market than can cost up to $2,000 and claim to yield as much as 100 mpg. The theory behind it is the generator breaks up the water molecules into pure hydrogen and oxygen. The pure hydrogen helps the fuel burn better resulting in better gas mileage. The problem is that it does not produce enough pure hydrogen to be of any benefit and because it changes the oxygen levels it can damage the valve seals and heads.
The bottom line is that if any of the hundreds of alleged gas saving devices worked, car makers and gas companies would be using them. Unfortunately, they do not work. The only options a person who has a gas guzzler has are to continue to drive it or replace it. Car dealers and the public do not want them so selling it is not a viable solution. That leaves car donation as the best option. The tax deduction is a very good benefit from a very bad situation.