Consumers Beware of Gas-saving Devices

Increasingly high fuel prices mean an increase in the number of products that promise to add fuel savings and cut costs at the pumps.

ABC News recently reported results for the MPG-Cap, a "gas pill" marketed by the Florida-based company Fuel Freedom International. Click here to view the original story.

According to Fuel Freedom International's website, a $2 MPG-Cap in your gas tank for every fill will increase mileage by 10 percent to 20 percent. However, when an ABC affiliate enlisted AAA to test the pill, results were different, according to ABC.

An expert from the AAA saw no improvement while driving at 34 miles per hour and a 4 percent increase in mileage at 65 mph, according to ABC. The company recommended using a larger dose of the pills, but when AAA used four pills in a tank of gasoline there was no difference in mpg, ABC reported.

Consumer groups warn that these products fail to live up to the promise of better fuel economy. The website reports devices it has tested did nothing to improve fuel economy. The bottom line, according to is, "the best way to get the most from a tank of gas is to follow the vehicle manufacturer's service schedule."

The EPA Gas Saving and Aftermarket Retrofit Device Evaluation Program has tested devices with fuel economy claims for more than 30 years and reports "not one of the products has ever come out proving their touted effects in a laboratory setting," said Anthony John Maietta, Life Scientist, EPA Region V, Chicago. The EPA has not specifically tested the MPG-Cap.

FFI's website says MPG-Cap is registered with the EPA, which could lead consumers to believe that means it is approved or endorsed by EPA as a gas-saving product.

However, that's not what it means, said Maietta.
"All (the guiding law) says is if you want to sell a fuel additive in the United States, you need to register that product with EPA," he said. "These types of companies tout the fact that they are following the law, nothing more. In order to be registered, you need to tell EPA what is in the additive you are going to sell, as well as how much of it. This way, EPA can tell if the additive will be harmful to your engine (or its emissions), and then can accept the registry or not. This is so that when you go to a Pep Boys and pick up a can of Heet, you know it won't kill your car. This registration does not validate any product claims. It only makes sure that negative effects aren't seen."

So, you may not be able to buy a "magic bullet" that will increase gas mileage, but there are some steps to take that will help.

  • Keep your car tuned up.
  • Slow down and avoid a lot of jerky starts and stops.
  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated.
  • The use of AMSOIL synthetic motor oils is a tried and true method of increasing fuel efficiency. Independent tests indicate synthetic lubricants can increase fuel efficiency by 2 percent to 5 percent, while field testing and on-road operation indicate AMSOIL synthetic motor oils yield even greater fuel economy benefits.