As gas prices creep higher in this summer travel season, consumers in Michigan should beware of some of the ridiculous claims being made for gadgets that are supposed to give better mileage, save gasoline and cut emissions. Most have been tested and found worthless.
Numerous tabloids, infomercials and Internet web sites are selling gas saving devices, complete with extreme claims like:
“Our device improves fuel economy by 20% and cuts emissions too!”
“After installing your product on my car, I got an extra 4 miles per gallon!”
What are these “magical” gadgets? Most are air bleed of vapor bleed devices, liquid injection systems, ignition replacement parts, fuel line heaters, coolers or even magnets. Other products include mixture enhancers, accessory drive modifiers and simple fuel or oil additives. All have been tested by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and none live up to their clams.
The Federal Trade Commission pursues false advertisers, and it has found that claims such as “saves thousands of dollars on gas!” or “increased mileage up to 300%” are either false or grossly exaggerated. They have not found any product that significantly improves gas mileage.
Most ads feature glowing testimonials by satisfied customers… but who are these people? Few consumers have the ability to test for precise changes in gas mileage. Variables include traffic congestion, road and weather conditions, and the car’s condition. And claims like “Approved by the Federal government” are nonsense!
The FTC recently conducted an Internet surf to detect deceptive gas-saving claims and then sent warning letters to more than 50 companies making questionable advertising claims. The letters reminded the advertisers that they need scientific substantiation for their promises. They were warned that they may be subject to law enforcement action if they keep making false claims.
Be skeptical of dramatic fuel-savings claims for automotive products. For more information, visit the FTC website: www.ftc.gov. Also remember you can check out companies with the BBB before you buy. Just visit our website: www.bbb.org/western-michigan or call (616) 774-8236 for more information.