Gas-Savings Scams Leave Consumers with Empty Wallets and Gas Tanks

June 27, 2008
As gasoline prices rise well above $4 a gallon, many consumers are looking into gas-saving devices. Unfortunately, the result is almost always an empty wallet -- along with an empty gas tank.
The Better Business Bureau warns that many Web sites make unbelievable claims for various after-market automotive devices (fuel-line magnets, air bleed devices and retrofit gadgets) and oil and gasoline additives that supposedly increase gas mileage for automobiles. The Federal Trade Commission has found many of these claims to be either false or overly exaggerated.
Before adding any fuel-savings device to your vehicle, check with your mechanic. You may end up with a voided manufacturers warranty and serious engine problems by adding after market devices to your engine.
What you spend at the pump is influenced by how you drive and what type of gasoline you use to fill your tank. With vacation time here and no end in sight to rising gas prices, your BBB offers these fuel-saving tips:
• Choose the right octane for your car. Check your owner’s manual to find out what octane your car requires.
• Keep your engine tuned. A poorly tuned engine can increase fuel consumption by as much as 10 to 20 percent. Follow the recommended maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual; you will save fuel and your car will run better and last longer.
• Don’t let your engine idle any longer than necessary. With most gasoline engines, it is more efficient to turn off the engine than to idle for any period longer than 30 seconds.
• Drive more efficiently. Stay within the posted speed limits. The faster you drive, the more fuel you use. Set your cruise control on highway trips.
• Keep tires properly inflated and aligned. Automobile manufacturers must place a label in the car stating the correct tire pressure. If the label lists a psi (pounds per square inch) range, use the higher number to maximize your fuel efficiency.
• Anticipate driving conditions. Driving smoothly and steadily makes the best use of your fuel.  Avoid sudden acceleration or braking.
• Change oil and replace air filters regularly.