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Don’t fall for gas gimmicks

April 11, 2011
Daily Press

The average price for a gallon of gasoline keeps rising. As prices continue to climb, Better Business Bureau (BBB) reports some businesses may be taking the opportunity to make money off consumers by selling "fuel boosting" products and additives to help conserve gas. However, BBB advises consumers to be cautious of "gas-saving" products that sound too good to be true.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has tested more than 100 gas-saving devices to determine whether their use will result in any significant improvement to fuel economy. Even though a few products were found to save a small amount of gas, the EPA has not identified a single product that significantly improves fuel economy. Additionally, several of the products tested were shown to cause an increase exhaust emissions.

"The only devices that I have seen work are cold air intakes that can increase fuel economy modestly but normally they are sold to increase power", said Michael Evans, Executive Vice President of Atlas Oil in Taylor, Mich.

Currently, ads boasting "Instant Mileage Gains up to 35 percent" and "Gain up to 6+ MPG Now" are popping up in inboxes and on many search engine results pages. While phishing attempts can be common with this type of promotion, BBB reports most websites linked to the ads have not presented major concerns for phishing. However, these advertisements are filled with questionable statements that may entice consumers to purchase a product over $100 that will not decrease gas consumption.

BBB advises consumers to educate themselves on how to identify the following red flags of gas-saving device advertisements:

- Federal Endorsement. While the EPA does evaluate the legitimacy of claims made by companies that produce gas-savers, no federal agency endorses gas-saving devices or additives.

- Glowing Consumer Testimonials. Marketing materials or websites for gas-savers often contain consumer testimony on the increased fuel efficiency they experienced with the product. Often these are made up by the company and the same testimonial can be found on several different websites.

- Too Good to be True Results. If a product could increase gas mileage by as much as 40 percent with little effort or money, it is highly unlikely the inventor needs to promote their product through spam e-mails or questionable websites.

- Even though most gas-saving products are not practical solutions for getting the most out of your vehicle, BBB offers the following tips for consumers to increase fuel efficiency in normal driving conditions:

- Stay Within the Speed Limit. Gas mileage tends to decrease rapidly at speeds above 60 miles per hour, or during periods of sustained acceleration.

- Avoid Jerky Starts and Stops. Drivers can improve their gas mileage by reducing the frequency of sudden starts and stops. This means accelerating slowly when starting from a dead stop and leaving plenty of space to coast while slowing down instead of having to brake hard to slow down and punch the accelerator to get back up to speed.

- Considering Driving With the Windows Down in the City. Using the air conditioner can decrease fuel efficiency. With mild spring temperatures arriving, consider driving with the windows down to increase the time between trips to the gas pump. "Windows down are fine for city driving but have shown that the drag/resistance at highway speeds can actually cut fuel economy versus the use of heat/ac.", added Evans.

- Keep Up With Basic Scheduled Maintenance. This includes making sure the tires are properly inflated and the oil and air filters are changed on schedule. Consult your owner's manual for the recommended frequency this should be done.

 
 

 

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