It’s just plain hard to put up gas prices hovering around $3. If we are being good stewards of the Earth, we have already cut back on driving, learned to bunch errands into one trip instead of many, taken to carpooling, and spent lots of time walking and biking. And we still have to put gas in our tanks now and then, cringing every time we do.
Maybe you’ve considered popping those little pills into your fuel tank. You know the pills – the ones that are supposed to improve mileage by a staggering 30%. What a great idea! But do they work? It would seem that they do not. The most heard about of these gas-saving pills is the one marketed by BioPerformance, a Dallas based company that has had run-ins with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who calls the pill a fraud. Abbot says that BioPerformance is marketing the pills through an illegal pyramid scheme, and in May of 2007 got a temporary restraining order and asset freeze against BioPerformance. The chemical found in the pills is naphthalene – the stuff that mothballs are made from. Not only will naphthalene not improve your car’s gas mileage, it may actually decrease engine performance, not to mention that it is toxic to humans (but your car will be moth-free). Unfortunately, as a pyramid scheme, hundreds of people have ponied up $300 t $500 each in start-up costs to become a “dealer”. Bottom line, the pills don’t work, and may cause problems. Don’t buy them or use them.
Other pills, interesting gadgets, liquid additives and powder additives have appeared on the scene making the same claims of better fuel efficiency for your vehicle, giving birth to a cottage industry of questionable repute. One such product is a set of magnets that are attached to the fuel line for the purpose of realigning the gasoline molecules and creating vortexes in the engine (what?). Some devices have been created to bleed air into the carburetor, or heat the gas before it hits the carburetor. There are additives that claim to ionize the fuel. The EPA has been testing these products finding that of the hundred or so tested, only a couple have shown even a tiny bit of gas mileage improvement without increasing exhaust emissions. It is estimated that 95% of the products marketed really don’t help at all, and the other 5% may help a little, but may also increase emissions.
So, in conclusion, the little pills don’t work and the other things probably don’t either. Save your money and keep walking, biking, and carpooling. Keep your tires at the proper inflation and your car well maintained. Those are your best bets for increased fuel efficiency.