May 29, 2006

AAA warns against “fuel saving” additives

Cincinnati, Ohio – The American Automobile Association (AAA) is advising motorists against experimenting with gasoline additives that promise big fuel economy gains. The additives, which can be liquids, tablets or pellets, are sold at auto supply stores, on the Internet and through multi-level marketing organizations.

“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,” 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.”

Nielsen further warns that some manufacturers claim the product has been tested and registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but he says, “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.”

Any maker of a product can hire an approved independent testing laboratory to perform back-to-back EPA mileage and emission tests of a vehicle, with and without the additive, but AAA says that, to date, it has not found one manufacturer of a “fuel-saving” additive that has done so. Realistically, the association says the most practical and effective way to reduce fuel consumption is for a driver to modify driving behaviour.

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