Monday, July 15, 2024 Detailed Auto Topics
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They have been around almost as long as cars; those devices claiming to increase fuel mileage. It seems whenever gas prices take a hike, they always seem to surface. They range from magnets on fuel lines, to small fans in the intake all the way to additives and "special" pills for the fuel to special air filters.

They may increase the thickness of the wallet of those that pedal them but I have seen no evidence that they increase anything else.

The facts are these:

  1. Fuel is simply energy.

  2. It takes a certain amount of energy, to move a certain amount of weight, a given distance at a given speed with a given engine design.

  3. Gadgets added to the vehicle will not change this.

Another persistent myth is that replacing an air filter will increase fuel mileage. On any modern vehicle, with fuel injection, which is almost every vehicle on the road, a dirty air filter will NOT reduce fuel mileage.

With the old vehicles that used carburetors, there may have been a grain of truth to this myth. Even then it was greatly overstated. On present day vehicles, fuel is controlled by the engine computer.  It uses an air flow meter or MAP sensor, oxygen sensors and several other sensors.

Replacing a dirty air filter is always a good idea, but replacing a filter for the purpose of a mileage increase will be disappointing. For ideas that will work, see our article entitled Free Gasoline.

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