Orlando, Fla. – 5/26/2006
With the retail price of a gallon of gas hovering near the three dollar mark across most of the United States, motorists looking to stretch fuel dollars by boosting their vehicles’ fuel efficiency may be left feeling an added pinch in the pocketbook if they decide to experiment with gasoline additives that promise big fuel economy gains, warns AAA.
“Some gasoline additives improve engine drivability by removing deposits from fuel injectors and other engine components, and others effectively deal with moisture in the fuel system,” says John Nielsen, Director of AAA’s Approved Auto Repair Network. “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.”
“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 to maintain the “benefits.”
Manufacturers of “fuel-saving” additives also often claim their product has been tested and registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “This is true,” says Nielsen, “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.”
Ironically, The EPA does have a test that can measure the effectiveness of any “fuel-saving” additive — the same Federal exhaust emission and fuel economy test used by vehicle manufacturers to certify new vehicles sold in the United States. Any maker of a “fuel-saving” product can hire an approved independent testing laboratory to perform back-to-back EPA 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 truly save on fuel is for a driver to modify his or her driving behavior.
“Adjusting one’s driving style and routinely maintaining your vehicle are two very effective ways to save fuel,” says Nielsen. “If drivers modify their habits and simply drive less aggressively, they will see an immediate improvement in their car’s gas mileage.” Other tips to improve fuel efficiency are to keep your tires properly inflated, remove any unnecessary baggage/weight from the vehicle, carpool when possible, and use the household ‘s most fuel-efficient vehicle as much as possible.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides its more than 49 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully-tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at: www.aaa.com. National and state by state, daily retail fuel prices are available at www.fuelgaugereport.com.
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