Gasoline prices have risen 33 percent this year, and with the average cost of gas now hovering around $4 a gallon, Americans are struggling to stay on the road without breaking their bank accounts. Some businesses though are seeing an opportunity to make money by selling fuel boosting additives or offering engine modifications to help drivers conserve fuel. However, Better Business Bureau is advising consumers to stay away from gas saving products, parts and modifications that sound too-good-to-be-true and is offering advice on more reliable ways to conserve fuel.
Over the past decade, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has tested more than 100 gas-saving devices and hasn’t identified any that significantly improve gas mileage. Energy and Environmental Analysis Inc., a technical consulting firm in Washington, D.C., estimates that 99 percent of the aftermarket products do not really change fuel economy. The EPA notes that the majority of “gas saving” products are harmless to vehicles, but testing has found that some products can cause substantial increases in exhaust emissions, thereby increasing the chances of actual engine damage.
“With the cost of oil nearing $150 a barrel – and gas pushing $5 a gallon in some parts of the country – additives and gadgets to help conserve fuel are very tempting for cash-strapped consumers,” said Claire Rosenzweig, President of the BBB Serving Metropolitan New York. “Unfortunately, these devices and additives will only end up draining the driver’s wallet without adding the much needed boost to their gas tank.”
BBB notes that consumers are being inundated with ads that play off frustration and concern over high gas prices. One Web site asks: “Do You Want To Know RIGHT NOW How You Can Drive Around Using WATER as FUEL and Laugh At Rising Gas Costs, While Reducing Emissions and Preventing Global Warming?” Another Web site boasts that they “have discovered some little-known products that can actually help you increase your fuel mileage 10%, 20%, 40% and possibly more!” Despite advertising claims, BBB is advising drivers that there is no simple, single way to improve fuel economy.
BBB recommends being particularly skeptical if advertisements claim:
Before buying any gas-saving device or additive, BBB recommends that consumers check out the company’s reliability report free-of-charge online at www.bbb.org.
For more money-saving advice from BBB for consumers, go to www.bbb.org.