The AAA, North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, is advising motorists to be wary of trying to improve the fuel economy in their vehicles by experimenting with gasoline additives that promise big fuel economy gains.
“Fuel-saving” gasoline additives are sold at auto supply stores, on the Internet and through multi-level marketing organizations. Some are liquids, while others come in tablet, capsule or pellet form—all are added to the gas tank during a fill up. Additive marketers often state the fuel saving effects will not become apparent until the product has been used for several tanks of fuel, and all of the companies require ongoing use of their product.
Some gasoline additives improve engine driveability by removing deposits from fuel injectors and other engine components, and others effectively deal with moisture in the fuel system. However, products whose primary claim is a major boost in fuel economy are another matter. Over the years, AAA has evaluated many such formulas, and has yet to discover one that can be proven to provide significant fuel-savings for motorists.—John Nielsen, Director of AAA’s Approved Auto Repair Network
Manufacturers of additives promising fuel savings also often claim their product has been tested and registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
This is true, but the procedures they cite are mandated by the EPA before any fuel additive can legally be sold in the United States. The tests only prove the additive will not harm a vehicle’s fuel system or increase the amount of pollution its engine emits; they do not address a product’s effect on gas mileage.—John Nielsen
Any maker of a “fuel-saving” product can, however, hire an approved independent testing laboratory to perform back-to-back EPA mileage and emissions tests of the same vehicle, with and without the “fuel-saving” additive, to generate scientifically valid figures that will support their claims. To date, AAA has not found one manufacturer of a “fuel-saving” additive that has done so.
Realistically, says AAA, the most practical and effective way to reduce fuel consumption is for a driver to modify his or her driving behavior.