Fuel additives adding nothing
WITH petrol prices approaching ridiculous levels and talk of a carbon tax intensifying, the age-old idea of getting more “miles per gallon” still seems like a pretty good one.
Just this week, the Queensland Times was contacted by a salesman from an American company wanting to promote a “totally amazing” new product, which he claimed would improve economy while reducing engine wear and harmful emissions when added to the fuel tank of a vehicle.
The salesman claimed several major mining companies saved tens of millions of dollars in fuel by using the additive.
But for all the claims, there is little information readily available about how the product achieves this.
The internet is littered with similar claims by half a dozen similar fuel-additive companies.
Add to that the promises made by companies like Fitch, who manufacture a device called the Fuel Catalyst, which is designed to be fitted to the fuel line of the vehicle.
Testing conducted for NRMA in 2008 found the device did not improve economy and in one of the test vehicles, emissions increased.
There are plenty who similarly doubt the ability of fuel additives to improve performance and economy, particularly in newer vehicles which use computers to get the best out of every tank of fuel.
Ipswich Muffler and Mechanical manager Daniel Guthrie said any improvement in economy was likely to be subtle and would only come as the result of returning an engine to the state it was in when it left the showroom.
“Different products are better than others – some claim to do it all but that’s hard to prove without considerable long-term, controlled testing,” Mr Guthrie said.
“To anyone considering using a product that claims to improve fuel economy and performance, I would say do your research and ask questions.”
Mr Guthrie is one of several Ipswich-based mechanics who use a popular Australian-manufactured engine flush, injector cleaner and engine lubricant.
The company regularly tests its products in front of the mechanics that use it.
However the mechanics admit that it will not drastically improve the performance of an already well-maintained vehicle.
Ipswich City Mechanical owner Brook Goodwin said he was regularly approached by companies offering miracle fuel additives, but there is never any evidence to back up the claims.
One of the most infamous frauds committed in Australian history was Firepower’s petrol-additive pill which turned out to be a fizzer and led to an investigation of the company’s chief executive in 2007.
RACQ expects fuel prices to reach 147 cents a litre tomorrow due to political unrest in the Middle East.