CBS4 Puts Fuel Additives To The Test

DENVER (CBS4) – Some people save money on gas by using those fuel additives that can be purchased right at the pump at some gas stations. CBS4 consumer reporter Jodi Brooks put one of the additives to the test.

Thirty-five King Soopers fuel centers offer the additives that promise to make a vehicle more fuel efficient.

Additech engine cleaners are supposed to clean a vehicle’s engine and improve gas mileage.

“I don’t think it really helps your engine as much as they advertise it,” consumer Laramie Reece said.

Reece conceded that he’s never used the product and doesn’t know anybody who has.

“I have never tried it but I would like to,” consumer Michelle Palmer said. “I think I’m going to try it the next time I get gas.”

Kelli McGannon is a spokesperson for King Soopers.

“Consumers are using it, consumers choose it, it’s available if they want it. It’s just an option for them,” McGannon said.
space CBS4 Puts Fuel Additives To The Test

CBS4 went to the National Center for Vehicle Emissions Control and Safety at Colorado State University in 2008 to test the product.

First a car was tested before putting in the Additech. They conducted what’s called a “town and country” cycle — up to 58 miles per hour and averaging 30 miles per hour to simulate an urban commute. The car averaged 20.95 miles per gallon.

Next the car was given the gas with Additech mileage booster. The same tests were run four times. With the additive it was 19.93, slightly less, but statistically insignificant.

“Every car is different, every engine is different, and it’s needs are different,” McGannon said. “So it’s there as a customer option for them.”

Additech runs anywhere from a $1.99 to $9.99.

CBS4 contacted the state about the additives and they said they don’t test them or regulate them. They simply say to let the consumer be the judge.

It’s recommended having at least one full tank of gas with Additech to see if it works.

Additech has done its own testing that shows fuel efficiency improvements in some cases as much as 10 percent.

  • zzzboy

    Thanks for the investigation. There are so many products out there making all kinds of claim, there is no way that the state government can step in. On the same note, why don’t you have one of your male colleaques to test out Enzyte, you know, the smiling Bob commercial. Let me know if he is smiling the next day.

  • Erik Bjornstad - Bell Performance

    Fuel system cleaners and detergents require time to work and will not immediately improve gas mileage. If anything, the gas mileage will go down at first, because if the cleaner is really removing dirty deposits from the engine, those will be carried in the fuel into the combustion chamber. Fuel mileage goes down temporarily at this point because heavy carbon deposits don’t burn as efficiently as pure virgin fuel. Once the engine is clean, over the course of 2000-3000 miles or so, the fuel mileage rebounds above the previous baseline.

    So putting a fuel system cleaner like this through one EPA-type driving cycle isn’t going to give an accurate reflection of what the additive will do with regular use over a period of time.

  • zzzboy

    That is a great product bundle: low grade fuel and fuel system cleaner.

  • Boris

    Fuel additives are REQUIRED in oil in order to make it meet specs when a refinery is making “fuel”. Detergents and oxygenants allow for a more complete combustion as well as a “keep clean effect.”

    Look up the world wide fuel charter version 4.

  • Cathleene

    My understanding of additives is that while they may initially, after the 4th tank or so, offer slightly better mileage, they are not as effective as the EPA approved tab that is not an additive…but a catalyst burner modifier that has no detergent in it. In addition it’s suppose to be far better for the vehicle. It significantly increases mileage and also allows far fewer oil changes. I have friends who use these tabs and they swaar by them. Especially with the rising prices of gas. They also notice more horsepower. I’ve not used them yet…but after I take my baseline mileage, I’m going to try them. Even if gas goes back down (I hope) the fewer annoying oil changes will be worth it to me. :)

  • Erik Bjornstad - Bell Performance

    The fuel tabs are basically naphthalene/moth balls. Nothing too revolutionary about them.

  • Cathleene

    dunno…saving up to 30% (older cars reporting) is a nice savings with the rising gas prices. Apparently they were created years ago for the aerospace industry, used by the Dept. of Defense. ? not sure why they are just now available to people. This is not my area of expertise by any means….but I am anxious to try them :)

  • Eliza Winters

    This is a very interesting post. I also wonder if engine cleaners would make a difference. I am really surprised that the additive did not make a statistically significant difference in either way. Thanks for the post!

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