Sunday, July 26, 2009

Buyer Beware: Products that Increase Your Gas Mileage

In these uncertain times, everyone reacts differently to the continuing increases in gas prices that we have experienced over the last few weeks...and even over years. Many drivers have taken to doing anything they can to increase their gas mileage. This desire to save gas has created a market for products that claim to do just that. The companies that manufacture these products seem to have a great idea, since they know that the public is desperate to decrease their fuel usage.

The important question is, do these products really provide a big difference, or are these companies just making a quick buck off of consumers who are sick of paying so much at the pump?

Testing by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

It can be very easy for a motorist to get roped in by the very gaudy claims that the companies who make these products are making. But, do these products really provide increased gas mileage? Is there any way they can prove the claims that they have made?

Well, that usually depends on who you ask. However, the EPA, or Environmental Protection Agency, has tested a number of these types of products, and has not as yet found even one that significantly increases gas mileage. This means that the organization which is the foremost authority in fuel economy has yet to certify one of these products as being legitimate.

Do They Actually Save Gas?

That is not to say that the products do not work.

Perhaps they do provide gas mileage increases in certain vehicles, or maybe they actually increase gas mileage by a marginal amount. However, since there is no concrete evidence of such an increase from testing done by an unbiased party, so there really is no proof available yet. Again, this does not mean that the products are altogether worthless or useless. However, it is debatable whether or not you should spend your hard-earned money on these products, especially when there are very cheap (or even free) alternative ways to increase your gas mileage.

Cheap and Easy Steps You Can Take To Save Gas

For instance, you can do something as simple as put the proper amount of air in your tires, and check their air pressure regularly. I recently let just one of my tires get very low on pressure, and my fuel economy dropped by almost ten percent! This simple task will usually cost you nothing (although some gas stations may have machines that charge a quarter or two), and will help you to save some of your precious gas when you drive.

Proper tire inflation is just one simple act of maintenance that can help you to preserve your fuel.

Another cheap way for a motorist to increase fuel efficiency is to change air filters regularly. Although this costs more than most fuel economy products do, it also provides genuainely proven benefits that can be pretty substantial in regards to fuel efficiency. If you had the choice between spending some money on an unproven method, or something that is proven to work, what would you choose?

A Few More Tips to Help Save Gas

These ways of increasing fuel efficiency are only just the tip of the iceberg. You can do many simple things like avoiding packing your trunk with excess junk that increases drag and decreases fuel mileage, or making sure you use the proper grade of motor oil. Switching to synthetic motor oil can help save gas, and even simple things like avoiding the use of the air conditioning system whenever possible can provide a marked increase in fuel economy!

I recently moved and noticed that the fuel economy in my Prius, ordinarily a very fuel efficient vehicle, seemed to be suffering quite badly in a new part of the country. Then, one day I looked in the spare tire well and noticed that I had left about 50 pounds of dumbbell plates in there. I removed them and my fuel economy shot back up dramatically.

If You Want to Save Gas, Save Money at the Same Time

In short, there are just too many cheap or inexpensive ways to improve gas mileage to be able to recommend buying most of these costly products that may not work much, or even at all. With so many simple and easy ways to increase your fuel economy, why pay money for something that is not proven to work?

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