5 Things You Need to Know About Products That Claim High MPG
What's Out There
Given the record fuel prices today, it's understandable that drivers would feel encouraged to learn there are products claiming to boost mpg. Typically, products that claim to do this come in the form of fuel additives or hardware that must be bolted on.
There Are Concerns With Additives
Introducing additives to your car does raise concerns, such as compatibility with fuel and oil, effects on engine longevity, and unknown side effects. Many experts are concerned they could even damage vehicles.
How Products Claim to Work
Bolt-on aftermarket products that claim to improve mileage take many forms. Some, called fuel-line magnets or catalysts, claim to work by aligning fuel molecules to improve combustion. A swirl inducer that's installed on the side on the engine is also available to swirl incoming air and theoretically improve combustion. Another product is an onboard hydrogen generator, which use electrolysis to remove a trace amount of hydrogen from water and inject it into the intake stream with the goal of improved fuel economy.
Beware of Claims
While many products tout credible-sounding laboratory test results, this fact remains: No product that claims to improve fuel economy has ever proved to do so to the satisfaction of federal agencies. Buyer beware.
Important Questions to Ask
In order to avoid being scammed, here are some questions offered by TMC Labs that should be asked about products that claim to achieve high mpg:
- How long has the product been on the market?
- Where can the product be purchased?
- What is the cost of installing the product initially as well as to use per mile?
- What is the return on investment immediately and over time?
- Have any current users been successful in achieving high mpg, and can I contact them?
- Does the product impact emissions?
- How long is the product useful for?
- What maintenance is required as a result of using the product?
- Is a warranty offered, and what does it cover?
- Will the product affect the warranty or life of the vehicle or any of its components?
- What do I need to know about handling the product during installation, operation, or disposal?
Jennifer Olvera, a graduate of DePaul University in Chicago, has been writing professionally for over a decade. In addition to covering the "green scene" for publications such as Where Magazine and Crain's, she has become one of the preeminent dining, food, and entertainment writers in Chicago. She has regularly been published in Chicago Magazine, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Zagat, Citysearch.com, and Gayot.com. See All Articles