"Gas-Saving" Products: Fact or Fuelishness?

Written by Pierre Schexneider M. Ed.

"Gas-Saving" Products: Fact or Fuelishness? By Pierre Schexneider M. Ed.

Gas prices are up, and so isrepparttar volume of advertising for "gas-saving" products. When gasoline prices rise, consumers often look for ways to improve fuel efficiency. Although there are practical steps you can take to increase gas mileage,repparttar 145267 Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns you to be wary of any gas-saving claims for automotive devices or oil and gas additives. Even forrepparttar 145268 few gas-saving products that have been found to work,repparttar 145269 savings have been small.

"Gas-Saving" Advertising Claims

Be skeptical ofrepparttar 145270 following kinds of advertising claims.

"This gas-saving product improves fuel economy by 20 percent."

Claims usually tout savings ranging from 12 to 25 percent. However,repparttar 145271 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has evaluated or tested more than 100 alleged gas-saving devices and has not found any product that significantly improves gas mileage. In fact, some "gas-saving" products may damage a car's engine or cause substantial increases in exhaust emissions.

The gas-saving products onrepparttar 145272 market fall into clearly defined categories. Althoughrepparttar 145273 EPA has not tested or evaluated every product, it has tried to examine at least one product in each category. See "Devices Tested by EPA" atrepparttar 145274 end of this brochure for category descriptions and product names.

"After installing your product on my car, I got an extra 4 miles [6.4 kilometers] per gallon [3.8 liters]."

Many ads feature glowing testimonials by satisfied customers. Yet, few consumers haverepparttar 145275 ability orrepparttar 145276 equipment to test for precise changes in gas mileage after installing a gas-saving product. Many variables affect fuel consumption, including traffic, road and weather conditions, andrepparttar 145277 car's condition.

For example, one consumer sent a letter to a company praising its "gas-saving" product. Atrepparttar 145278 timerepparttar 145279 product was installed, however,repparttar 145280 consumer also had received a complete engine tune-up - a fact not mentioned inrepparttar 145281 letter. The entire increase in gas mileage attributed torepparttar 145282 "gas-saving" product may well have beenrepparttar 145283 result ofrepparttar 145284 tune-up alone. But fromrepparttar 145285 ad, other consumers could not have known that.

"This gas-saving device is approved byrepparttar 145286 Federal government."

No government agency endorses gas-saving products for cars. The most that can be claimed in advertising is thatrepparttar 145287 EPA has reached certain conclusions about possible gas savings by testingrepparttar 145288 product or by evaluatingrepparttar 145289 manufacturer's own test data. Ifrepparttar 145290 seller claims that its product has been evaluated byrepparttar 145291 EPA, ask for a copy ofrepparttar 145292 EPA report, or check www.epa.gov for information. In some instances, false claims of EPA testing or approval have been made.

Product Complaints and Refunds

If you're dissatisfied with a gas-saving product, contactrepparttar 145293 manufacturer and ask for a refund. Most companies offer money-back guarantees. Contactrepparttar 145294 company, even ifrepparttar 145295 guarantee period has expired.

If you're not satisfied withrepparttar 145296 company's response, contact your local or state consumer protection agency orrepparttar 145297 Better Business Bureau.

EPA Evaluation Efforts

The EPA evaluates or tests products to determine whether their use will result in any significant improvement or detriment to fuel economy. However,repparttar 145298 EPA cannot say what effect gas-saving products will have on a vehicle over time because it hasn't conducted any durability tests. It's possible that some products may harmrepparttar 145299 car or may otherwise adversely affect its performance. In fact, today's vehicles' emission control systems are very sophisticated and complex. They have On Board Diagnostic features that alertrepparttar 145300 driver to problems associated withrepparttar 145301 emission control and fuel delivery systems. Retrofit products may have an adverse effect on these systems.

Devices Tested by EPA

The following list categorizes various types of "gas-saving" products, explains how they're used and gives product names. Those with asterisks may save measurable, but small, amounts of gas. All others have been found not to increase fuel economy.

Air Bleed Devices: These devices bleed air intorepparttar 145302 carburetor. They usually are installed inrepparttar 145303 Positive Crankcase Ventilation line or as a replacement for idle-mixture screws.

The EPA has evaluatedrepparttar 145304 following products: ADAKS Vacuum Breaker Air Bleed; Air-Jet Air Bleed; Aquablast Wyman Valve Air Bleed; Auto-Miser; Ball-Matic Air Bleed; Berg Air Bleed; Brisko PCV; Cyclone-Z; Econo Needle Air Bleed; Econo-Jet Air Bleed Idle Screws; Fuel Max*; Gas Saving Device; Grancor Air Computer; Hot Tip; Landrum Mini-Carb; Landrum Retrofit Air Bleed; Mini Turbocharger Air Bleed; Monocar HC Control Air Bleed; Peterman Air Bleed; Pollution Master Air Bleed; Ram-Jet; Turbo-Dyne G.R. Valve.

Consider the Alternatives:

Written by Pierre Schexneider M. Ed.

Considerrepparttar Alternatives: By Pierre Schexneider M. Ed.

Alternative Fueled Vehicles and Alternative Vehicle Fuels

Driving a car fueled by something other than gasoline or diesel fuel is no longerrepparttar 145266 stuff of science fiction. In addition to conventional gasoline and diesel fuel, reformulated - cleaner - gasoline and alternative fuels now are sold in many parts ofrepparttar 145267 country. Alternative fuels such as methanol, ethanol, compressed natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, and electricity produce fewer tail pipe pollutants than conventional gasoline and diesel fuel. Using them could improve our air quality.

In 1992, Congress passedrepparttar 145268 Energy Policy Act to promoterepparttar 145269 use of alternative fuels. For example,repparttar 145270 law requires owners of fleet vehicles to purchase a certain number of alternative fueled vehicles. Congress also directedrepparttar 145271 Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to issue labeling requirements for alternative fuels and alternative fueled vehicles. Two FTC Rules -repparttar 145272 Alternative Fuels and Vehicles (AFV) Rule andrepparttar 145273 Fuel Rating Rule - require fuel dispensers and alternative fueled vehicles to be labeled with information to help consumers make knowledgeable decisions when it comes to filling up or buying a vehicle. The AFV Rule applies to new and used alternative fueled vehicles that are sold to consumers or leased to consumers for a minimum of 120 days. This Article explainsrepparttar 145274 labels you'll see on alternative fueled vehicles and alternative fuel dispensers, and suggests several important factors to consider as you investigaterepparttar 145275 options.

Alternative Fueled Vehicles:

AFVs are vehicles that operate on alternative fuels, such as methanol, ethanol, compressed natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, electricity, and others designated byrepparttar 145276 U.S. Department of Energy. Some AFVs can run on conventional fuels, such as gasoline, and alternative fuels. They are called dual-fueled vehicles.

The required labels must be placed in plain view onrepparttar 145277 surface of all new and used AFVs. The labels on new AFVs must includerepparttar 145278 vehicle's cruising range as estimated byrepparttar 145279 manufacturer and its environmental impact, as well as general descriptive information. It's important to know how many miles your new AFV will travel on a supply of fuel because, gallon for gallon, some AFVs don't travel as far as gasoline-powered vehicles. The label's description ofrepparttar 145280 Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) emission standard forrepparttar 145281 vehicle tells you to what extentrepparttar 145282 vehicle produces emissions. If a vehicle meets an EPA emissions standard, a box onrepparttar 145283 label will be marked and a caret (^) will be placed aboverepparttar 145284 particular vehicle's certification standard. The label showsrepparttar 145285 levels of emissions standards in a series of boxes that range from a "Tier l" vehicle - one with more emissions - to a "ZEV" - a zero emissions vehicle. The labels on new and used AFVs also advise consumers to considerrepparttar 145286 following items before buying or leasing an AFV.

Fuel type. Ask what kind of fuel powersrepparttar 145287 vehicle.

Operating costs. Fuel and maintenance costs for AFVs may differ from gasoline or diesel-fueled vehicles.

Performance/convenience. Vehicles powered by different fuels vary in their ability to start when they are cold; their acceleration rates;repparttar 145288 time it takes to completely refillrepparttar 145289 vehicle's tank; and how they are refueled.

Fuel availability. Find out whether refueling or recharging facilities are available in your area forrepparttar 145290 fuelrepparttar 145291 vehicle uses.

Energy security/renewability. Consider where and howrepparttar 145292 fuel poweringrepparttar 145293 vehicle is produced so you can anticipate long-term fuel availability at a reasonable price.

These labels also must include additional sources of information fromrepparttar 145294 federal government: The Department of Energy maintains a toll-free National Alternative Fuels Hotline to answer questions about alternative fuels, give information aboutrepparttar 145295 availability of alternative fuels in a particular area, and suggest more sources of information about alternative fuels and alternative fueled vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's toll-free hotline offers information about safety related automobile issues.

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