As gas prices started to rise more than a decade ago, a slew of fuel additive products hit the market, promising to save consumers money through increased fuel efficiency. But according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency many of these products are touting false claims.
EPA endorsements and registration
Some products on the market claim to be approved or endorsed by the EPA. However, the EPA does not certify, endorse or approve of any fuel additive products. Be wary of products that make these claims. In addition, you might notice that some products have been registered with the EPA. In order for a fuel additive to be registered, the manufacturer has to submit a report to the agency on the product's chemical composition and health effects. It's important to note that the EPA does not determine if a registered product works as advertised, it only looks to see its environmental impact. So even if a product is registered with the EPA, it doesn't mean it will actually save you money or improve your vehicle's performance.
It's not uncommon for a fuel additive to claim to save you a specified amount of fuel. For example, a product might promise to improve your fuel economy by 30 percent. However, these claims have probably not been verified. In fact, the EPA studied more than 100 gas-saving products and found that none of them significantly improved gas mileage. It went on to conclude that some of these products could even damage your car's engine or increase exhaust emissions.
If you have purchased a product that claims to save energy, don't be afraid to complain to the manufacturer. Most companies will give you your money back if you're not satisfied. However, if the company doesn't respond to you — or responds poorly — contact the Better Business Bureau or your local or state consumer protection agency.
Why don't fuel additives work?
Most of the time these products are developed by people looking to make a quick buck. And they aren't held to testing and inspection standards to ensure they actually work. So the likelihood of one of these devices saving you money is very slim. But even if these fuel saving devices could perform well, the end result would be minimal, according to Popular Mechanics.
The publication reports that about 99 percent of the fuel in your vehicle is burned by running the vehicle. The other 1 percent creates carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons that move through the catalytic converter and eventually pass into the environment. If one of these fuel products worked, it would only improve gas mileage by 1 percent. Consumers should be leery of any device that claims more energy savings.
Fortunately, there are easy ways to increase your fuel economy without resorting to fuel additive products that could damage your vehicle. Take a look at this blog post for tips on how to drive more efficiently and maximize your fuel economy.