Authored by Geoff Vaughan in Automotive
Published on 01-24-2009
When gas prices spiraled out of control recently to the $4.00 per gallon level, many people had to change their driving habits because they couldn’t afford to gas up their vehicles anymore the way they used to. This especially affected owners of gas-guzzling SUVs and trucks, which could cost upwards of $100 to fill the tank. Naturally, when situations like this arise, there will always be a segment of society out there hoping to profit from them, and the gas crisis has been no different. From out of nowhere, ads and emails were suddenly flying around advertising various ways that people could dramatically increase the gas mileage of their trucks. The following are some of the methods being touted. I will leave it up to you as to whether or not these gimmicks work, but keep in mind that several major magazines have reviewed all of these devices, and have yet to find one that increases gas mileage as advertised.
Vortex generators come from a variety of manufacturers, and come in several different types. They supposedly operate on the principle that creating a vortex, or spinning column of air, will better enable the air coming into the intake manifold to mix with the fuel. This is said to allow the combustion chamber to burn the resulting fuel more completely. It also is supposed to clean the air coming in.
Several companies are advertising strong magnets that you can place on your fuel line. The theory is that the magnets will break up fuel molecule clusters, allowing the engine to burn the fuel more efficiently.
These devices are advertised as being able to convert fuel into vapor before it gets into the engine, allowing the fuel to burn more completely. As the theory goes, this is a better process than by using a fuel injector, as the latter does not convert all of the fuel into vapor and instead leaves some liquid droplets which will not burn.
Supposedly, spraying water directly into the intake will lower the temperature of the combustion chamber, allowing for more power to be generated. And there is at least one manufacturer that is advertising a device that does this by splitting water into hydrogen bubbles with a mini fuel cell hydrogen processor.
It may be a cliché, but I will mention just like every other article about these devices, “buyer beware.” The Federal Trade Commission has investigated most all of these devices on the market, and has not found one that has lived up to its promises. In fact, several do the opposite of what their claims suggest, and actually reduce gas mileage after they are installed. And some can even be dangerous to your engine, as one of the devices tested by a writer for a major magazine melted as it was being used. It seems that the old adage about something being too good to be true can apply in this situation as well.