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Author Topic: Can adding Acetone to fuel increase mpg by 15 to 35%?
Dave from London
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Quote:

"What kind of mileage increase will acetone give my car? Normally from 15% to 35% depending on your driving habits and how many of our mileage suggestions you have taken. We know an aeronautical engineer in San Jose whose test car went from a baseline of 19.3 MPG to 27. He certified this with his ScanGauge. That is a genuine boost of 27%."

http://www.lubedev.com/smartgas/faq.htm

Given the prices these days it's an attractive idea but is it true?

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Shadowduck
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More information here.

Never heard of this one before! I'll freely admit to being more than a little skeptical (as befits a Snopester) but a quick Google suggests there might be something in it. Might even be tempted to give it a try on the old Clio when I sort out her brake problems, she's on her way to the motorway in the sky anyway so not much to lose. My main concern would be the effect of the solvent on fuel lines, filter etc. but at such low concentrations it shouldn't be a problem, methinks. I'll watch this thread with interest.

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But of course, I could be wrong.

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Rehcsif
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That page (the first link) smells strongly of "conspiracy theory", which always rubs me the wrong way. Also statements like this:

quote:
The existing global heating will render ALL U.S. crops in the near future to be inefficient due to unpredictable weather changes
Ah, another "global warming/the sky is falling" argument! Wow, all US crops will be toast in the "near future"?

...and this...

quote:
Efficiency is in stopping the wasted fuel and by reducing friction to nearly zero. Plus doing other things.

I laughed at loud on this one. A combination of the obvious, and "Plus doing other things". I wonder if I'd get away with that on an essay test:

Q: Describe the steps of Photosynthesis:

A: Photosynthesis involves the sun's rays shining on the green leaves of plants. This, and some other things, feeds the plant.

-Tim

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Casey, making hot chocolate
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Hmm... possible, as acetone burns hotter than gas, but I'm not dumping it in my car.

--------------------
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Shadowduck
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quote:
Originally posted by Rehcsif Mit:
That page (the first link) smells strongly of "conspiracy theory", which always rubs me the wrong way.

Ditto. I'm genuinely interested to know what you think of the link I posted though; it seems a little more believable. With petrol over 90p a litre and an almost limitless supply of acetone at hand I'd be quite delighted to find this had some truth to it!

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But of course, I could be wrong.

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Delta-V
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Acetone makes a halfway decent fuel system cleaner. It's quite possible, if you've got a dirty fuel system, that adding acetone could increase gas mileage. Of course, there's any number of other products on the market that are designed for that and probably do it better. Some fuel system cleaners do include acetone.

Acetone will attack certain types of rubber and plastic. Rubber and plastics in the fuel system are designed to handle gasoline (which also can degrade certain types of rubber and plastic), so they can probably handle acetone in small concentrations. Full-strength, it will soften plastics and eat paint, so pouring it in would require caution.

Some of the stuff on that site is mostly true, but distorted. For example:
quote:
What speed gives my car the best mileage? The one that produces the least waste. This is easy to find with a vacuum gauge you place on your dash. Drive your car at whatever speed gives the highest vacuum reading at cruise. A high manifold vacuum helps to tear apart fuel molecules to vaporize them with air to start an efficient combustion process in the chamber.
This is partly correct, but not for the reasons stated. The highest manifold vacuum pressure corresponds with the smallest throttle opening, and thus the lowest load on the engine. Modern cars with EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) systems may not respond that way, as exhaust gas is recirculated into the intake charge in order to decrease manifold vacuum. Manifold vacuum itself actually increases gas consumption because the piston, on the intake stroke, is pulling air through the mostly-closed throttle, so the vacuum produced is 'pulling' against the surface of the piston (technically, the crankcase pressure is pushing harder on the bottom of the piston than the low-pressure air on top). This is called 'pumping losses'. Engines are actually most efficient at low-load and WOT (wide-open throttle), and some vehicles with CVT's (continously variable transmission) operate that way.

--------------------
"My neighbor asked why anyone would need a car that can go 190 mph. If the answer isn't obvious, and explaination won't help." - Csabe Csere

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Dave from London
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Shadow duck - you know what i'm getting more and more convinced there is something in it with your link - despite the conspiricy theory tone of the link I posted...
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Delta-V
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Most of that ancidotal evidence is either consistant with poor testing: "...my Prius went from 43 mpg to over 54 mpg, on the same tank of gas!" or cleaning out the fuel system of older cars. A real test would be run one tank of gas with something like BG 44K to clean out the system, then run one tank of plain gas (preferably at a test track), then run one tank of gas plus acetone.

--------------------
"My neighbor asked why anyone would need a car that can go 190 mph. If the answer isn't obvious, and explaination won't help." - Csabe Csere

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Rehcsif
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I personally don't see how such a small amount of anything added to gasoline would improve mileage, engine performance, or anything else.

We're talking 3 oz per 10 gallons. You might get a small cleaning effect, but it certainly isn't going to provide much of a fuel effect.

-Tim

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Shadowduck
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I wouldn't be too put off by the small amount, most commercial fuel additives are used in quite small quantities. As I understand it, the proponents of this idea aren't claiming that burning the acetone is what results in increased efficiency, they seem to be saying it's a combination of keeping the fuel system clean and improved atomisation of the fuel resulting in a more complete burn. Doesn't sound unreasonable, but I'm no chemist.

--------------------
But of course, I could be wrong.

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Echinodermata Q. Taft
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I saw a discussion thread on this recently. If I understood what most of the more skeptical folks were saying, for cars made in the last 10-15 years, it probably will make very little if any difference, particularly if you have fuel injection: these systems already atomize the fuel very efficiently, and are very much designed and adjusted for the fuel they're designed to burn. It might make more of a difference for older vehicles. However, many were also EXTREMELY dubious as to the claims that it would not harm the engine.

I'm not a chemist or any kind of auto maintenance expert, so I don't know, but I'd be very cautious about experimenting with this.

--------------------
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Shadowduck
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quote:
Originally posted by Echinodermata Q. Taft:
I saw a discussion thread on this recently. If I understood what most of the more skeptical folks were saying, for cars made in the last 10-15 years, it probably will make very little if any difference, particularly if you have fuel injection: these systems already atomize the fuel very efficiently, and are very much designed and adjusted for the fuel they're designed to burn. It might make more of a difference for older vehicles. However, many were also EXTREMELY dubious as to the claims that it would not harm the engine.

I'm not a chemist or any kind of auto maintenance expert, so I don't know, but I'd be very cautious about experimenting with this.

This is why I'm volunteering The Mighty Clio (12 years old and fuel injected so just within the criteria you mention) as a testbed - I only paid four hundred quid for her in the first place and have no intention of trying to get her through her next test so if she does go into meltdown (literally) there's not much lost. This is of course assuming I ever get those 1200ccs of raw power back on the road again! If I do try it I'll resurrect this thread and report back.

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But of course, I could be wrong.

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Robigus, Frozen Mushroom
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Fuel-A-Chow
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David Addison
The Red and the Green Stamps


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I heard an interesting report the other day from a mechanic who says using this nail polish remover in you vehicle will cause it to burn hotter, but will also clean your fuel injectors. People who know anything about cars will agree that clean injectors are good, but from the report he gave he says sometimes in certain vehicles it actually cleans too much taking away things it shouldn't and overtime eating away at rubber valves and other synthetic parts.

Overall he said you could expect to gain 1 - 4% more fuel economy. But he doesn't suggest it for the above reasons.

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Shadowduck
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Since this thread's been resurrected (welcome to the boards, David!) a status update seems appropriate. The Mighty Clio is once more thundering down the highways and byways of Lancashire - once she's had chance to settle down I'll give this a go (for one tankful at least) and report back.

This is of course purely in the spirit of scientific enquiry and nothing to do with saving beer money. [lol]

ETA: My proposed method;

Fill the tank.
Do a couple of hundred miles.
Fill the tank again (adding acetone this time) and work out the 'before' mpg from the amount required.
Do a couple of hundred miles.
Fill the tank again and work out the 'during' mpg.
Run the tank to empty.
Fill the tank again (just petrol this time).
Do a couple of hundred miles.
Fill the tank again and work out the 'after' mpg.

The idea is to get before, during and after mpg figures to see how much (if any) improvement there is and how much is down to cleaning effect (if the after figure is better than the before figure). I'm well aware this method isn't perfect, any suggested improvements will be considered!

--------------------
But of course, I could be wrong.

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KaiTheInvader
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funny I should stumble upon this thread, the other day my bf decided to try this very thing, and I had been looking up information about it, b/c I'd heard it before but couldn't remember from where. He's all about cars, so he wouldn't try anything if he didn't think it would work. his car is a 1990 acura integra that he takes very good care of, the ratio is 3 ounces to every 10 gallons of gas in your tank. if you add anymore than that it can cause knocking or will eat through the rubber hosing(?) but both him and his father have added it to their cars, and according to my bf, not only has it improved the gas milage, but more noticably he doesn't have to push as hard on the acceleration. (I don't drive, and his car is a stick shift, so I'm going by what I remember him telling me.)

--------------------
Resurrection of mankind to careen in silent pace. Feeling lonely. I am the dream that nobody dreams of, but will you dream of me, and dream of eternal desire? If you dream of me, will you live for me? Will you? Will you?

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KaiTheInvader
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it seems to have eaten my post...bleh.

anyways, it's lucky I found this thread, I was looking up information about it the other day, as my bf and his father were discussing it. the ratio is supposed to be 3 ounces to every 10 gallons of gas, any more will cause knocking and the rubber hosing(?) to get worn away. My bf has a 1990 acura integra that he takes very good care of (he's a huge car fanatic), yet he decided to do this anyways. he says that not only has it improved his gas milage, but more noticably he doesn't have to push as hard on the accelerator. (I don't drive and his is a stick shift, so I'm not 100% sure on what he means, I'm going by what he says.) so it definitely works, if you're willing to try it.

--------------------
Resurrection of mankind to careen in silent pace. Feeling lonely. I am the dream that nobody dreams of, but will you dream of me, and dream of eternal desire? If you dream of me, will you live for me? Will you? Will you?

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Delta-V
Xboxing Day


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Shadowduck,

I'd ammend the procedure like this:
Fill the tank
Run until empty
Compute the 'before' mpg (1)
Fill tank again, adding acetone
Run until empty
Compute mpg for the 'cleaning process' (2)
Refill the tank, again adding acetone.
Run until empty
Compute mpg for the 'acetone added after cleaning' condition (3)
Refill the tank with only petrol
Run until empty
Compute mpg for the 'petrol only after cleaning' condition (4)

This will give the first 'acetone added' tank a chance to clean the engine (if any cleaning occurs). The second acetone-added tank will let us see what effect the acetone has on a clean engine.

If the acetone is only having a cleaning effect, then (2) should be higher than (1), and (3) should be higher than (2), and (4) should be equal to (3)

If the acetone is not having a cleaning effect, then (2) and (3) should be equal.

If acetone has the mystical powers it's proported to have, then (3) will be higher than (4).

--------------------
"My neighbor asked why anyone would need a car that can go 190 mph. If the answer isn't obvious, and explaination won't help." - Csabe Csere

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LikeHeyScoob
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quote:
Originally posted by Dave from London:
Quote:

"What kind of mileage increase will acetone give my car? Normally from 15% to 35% depending on your driving habits and how many of our mileage suggestions you have taken. We know an aeronautical engineer in San Jose whose test car went from a baseline of 19.3 MPG to 27. He certified this with his ScanGauge. That is a genuine boost of 27%."

http://www.lubedev.com/smartgas/faq.htm

Given the prices these days it's an attractive idea but is it true?

The math is wrong. An increase from 19.3 mpg to 27 mpg is closer to 45%, not 27%.

--------------------
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Shadowduck
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I'll ponder on that, Delta-V. Your method sounds good, the only slight problem being it might take a while - I think I currently get around 300 miles or so from a tankful (not absolutely sure 'cos I don't often fill it right up) so I'd certainly be covering over a thousand miles to complete the testing that way. My method was intended to give a 'quick and dirty' result but maybe it would be better to do the thing properly! [Smile]

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But of course, I could be wrong.

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Delta-V
Xboxing Day


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You could shorten it a bit by not emptying the tank in the first and last steps. You could omit the first step if you already have a good baseline mpg. But I think we really need 2 tankfuls of 'acetone added' to do it right.

They'll be alot of noise in the results because of changing temperatures and traffic and such, but we should be able to prove or disprove the huge improvements they're claiming.

--------------------
"My neighbor asked why anyone would need a car that can go 190 mph. If the answer isn't obvious, and explaination won't help." - Csabe Csere

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Casey, making hot chocolate
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Hmm... I've an old Dodge van that I might try this on... we'll see if I can pry it loose from my dad's clutches.

--------------------
"To be or not to be! That is the question! Now, will you answer, dare, double dare, or take the Physical Challenge?" --Mark Summers as Hamlet
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zakor
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HOTTER: That's the problem. Most American cars redline at around 5k RPMs, which means they'll cruise at 2-2.5k. That's a fine RPM/Temp for acetone.

Smaller, especially imports, and motorcycles should be VERY caution with this fuel. My cycle, for example redlines at 14k RPMs, and will *cruise* at 7k, enough RPMs to fry the average full size American GM (for example). Acetone in that cycle engine would raise the temperature too much, to the point that it would cause serious engine damage.

The smaller engines with higher RPMs should be very cautious with this fuel.

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Shadowduck
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Out of interest, do you have any cites for that, Zakor? What you say about varying redlines is undoubtedly true but the cooling systems of high-revving engines are designed to deal with those revs; the designers aren't idiots. I don't know how much difference 2 or 3% acetone in the fuel will make to the combustion temperature but I would have thought it would be a problem on all engines, or none. Without any particular knowledge to back it up, I suspect higher compression engines (this also usually applies to bikes) would be more of a worry, due to the risk of detonation.

Of course, I could be wrong.

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But of course, I could be wrong.

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Delta-V
Xboxing Day


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Well, acetone does burn hotter (2261K) than Octane (2093K) (adiabatic flame temp). However, acetone has a much lower heat of combustion 7.3Kcal/g vs. 11.5Kcal/g.

Still, you're talking a 0.2% concentration. And at cruise, with the computer working in closed-loop, cylinder temps should never be a problem.

(Smaller cars will only cruise at around 3.6k rpm on the highway. And older V-8's don't 'fry' at rpm's over 5k...the valves float long before that. Modern American V-8's will turn 6 or 7k RPM, just as much as most import 4-banger, with the exception of some of the Honda motors.)

--------------------
"My neighbor asked why anyone would need a car that can go 190 mph. If the answer isn't obvious, and explaination won't help." - Csabe Csere

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Casey, making hot chocolate
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Dragging this back to the top...

Has anyone tried this yet? I've found a few alternate ways to decrud my injectors, but this is still somewhat intriguing.

--------------------
"To be or not to be! That is the question! Now, will you answer, dare, double dare, or take the Physical Challenge?" --Mark Summers as Hamlet
Countdown: 177 days and counting... or less. My blog. 14 keyboards owed.

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Shadowduck
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Unfortunately the promised test on The Mighty Clio looks unlikely to happen at this stage. She has a long list of mechanical and electrical woes (including water in the fuel tank, I think), none of which stop her being used but which make her a little unsuitable as a test bed.

I haven't forgotten it though. The Clio is due for MOT test in April and I have every intention of offloading her before then, I'll try to give this a go on my next £500 rocketship. [Smile]

--------------------
But of course, I could be wrong.

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glisp42
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According to Tom and Ray of Car Talk it's bogus

http://www.cartalk.com/content/columns/Archive/2006/January/08.html

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Shadowduck
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quote:
Originally posted by glisp42:
According to Tom and Ray of Car Talk it's bogus

http://www.cartalk.com/content/columns/Archive/2006/January/08.html

Hmmm... Their main reason being that someone from the oil industry told them it didn't work - now there's an unbiased source! [lol] They're quite correct about the potential problems caused by neat solvent attacking rubber / paint etc.; the way around that being to mix the required amount of acetone with petrol in a jerry can and pour it in before filling up, the idea being the clean petrol will flush out the line to the tank and the acetone is too dilute once it's in the tank (2-3%) to damage anything.

I'm not particularly familiar with the car talk guys and I'm sure they give information in good faith but for every source saying it doesn't work there's one saying it does, from every position on the credibility scale. That's why I planned to try it for myself, and hopefully will.

--------------------
But of course, I could be wrong.

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eif
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quote:
Originally posted by Shadowduck:
quote:
Originally posted by glisp42:
According to Tom and Ray of Car Talk it's bogus

http://www.cartalk.com/content/columns/Archive/2006/January/08.html

I'm not particularly familiar with the car talk guys and I'm sure they give information in good faith but for every source saying it doesn't work there's one saying it does, from every position on the credibility scale. That's why I planned to try it for myself, and hopefully will.
Tom and Ray are like Car Gods. I listen to them every week. Both are graduates of MIT and have a life long love of cars. If they say it's bogus, believe them.


As for the acetone, long term use will probably damage the engine and other parts. Occassional use may just help clean stuff and that is what probably leads to the initial mpg improvement. One way of checking that would be if you do add the acetone and get an improvement, is it maintained if the next few tanks you don't add it.

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Where I come from we believe all sorts of things that aren't true. We call it History.

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Shadowduck
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quote:
Originally posted by eif:
Tom and Ray are like Car Gods. I listen to them every week. Both are graduates of MIT and have a life long love of cars. If they say it's bogus, believe them.

Without wishing to cast any doubt on the godlike status of these two gents, there seem to be plenty of people around who disagree with them on this - just follow some of the links higher up this thread. I personally am not convinced one way or the other, which is why I intended to try it out and get some empirical evidence of my own to prove or disprove the theory.

quote:
Originally posted by eif:
As for the acetone, long term use will probably damage the engine and other parts.

It's a possibility - which is why I volunteered my knackered old Clio for the test. Frankly, if the whole engine melted it would only make the car slightly slower. My intention wasn't to test the effect on reliability, just to see if it had any noticeable effect on fuel consumption.

quote:
Originally posted by eif:
One way of checking that would be if you do add the acetone and get an improvement, is it maintained if the next few tanks you don't add it.

If you read back through the thread you'll see we took that into consideration when discussing exactly how to do the test.

--------------------
But of course, I could be wrong.

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jimmy101
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by Shadowduck:
quote:
Originally posted by eif:
Tom and Ray are like Car Gods. I listen to them every week. Both are graduates of MIT and have a life long love of cars. If they say it's bogus, believe them.

Without wishing to cast any doubt on the godlike status of these two gents, there seem to be plenty of people around who disagree with them on this - just follow some of the links higher up this thread. I personally am not convinced one way or the other, which is why I intended to try it out and get some empirical evidence of my own to prove or disprove the theory.
Shadowduck, I've got some very nice land in New Orleans for sale. Interested?

You don't seriously believe this BS do you? Magical addition of a few percent of something to gas boosts mileage 10 to 40%? (The "aero engineer from San Jose" numbers are a 40% increase. Odd that he can't correctly calculate percentage. Hope he didn't design any aircraft I fly on!)

Yes there are a few sites that say it is true. But think about it. If it really was true don't you think there would be a heck of a lot more info out there? Don't you think Newsweek, Time, and every other publication in the world would have done a story on it? Espcially when gas topped $3/gallon.

How can people be sooooooo gullible?

There is a remote chance that acetone will clean the fuel lines and injectors (or carb). There is some chance that acetone will remove water in the fuel system. There is some chance that one or both of these effects will boost mileage. Subsequent tanks of gas won't need the acetone but will still have the mileage increase. Any good fuel system cleaner will do the same thing.

BTW, One comment on cars by Bob & Tom is more reliable than hundreds of "Joe Schmoe" web sites, or thousands of "Buy our miracle car product" web sites.

Posts: 629 | From: Greenwood, IN | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Shadowduck
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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quote:
Originally posted by jimmy101:
You don't seriously believe this BS do you?

I refer you to my earlier post;

quote:
Originally posted by Shadowduck:
I personally am not convinced one way or the other, which is why I intended to try it out and get some empirical evidence of my own to prove or disprove the theory.

You might also go back and read my first post in this thread.

quote:
Originally posted by jimmy101:
How can people be sooooooo gullible?

Partly by believing a source unquestioningly because it's normally reliable. Did you know Mister Ed was really a zebra? If this was such a no-brainer as you seem to think, this thread would have died in infancy.

quote:
Originally posted by jimmy101:
BTW, One comment on cars by Bob & Tom is more reliable than hundreds of "Joe Schmoe" web sites, or thousands of "Buy our miracle car product" web sites.

Quite possibly, I don't recall saying anything to the contrary. I said I wasn't particularly familiar with them and would still be interested in trying it for myself. This slightly hysterical reaction caused by my reluctance to blindly accept the wisdom of the car gods (or indeed anyone else on either side) is vaguely unsettling. Assuming they're right, which there's every chance they are, they'll be proved right if I ever actually do the test. Don't hold your breath though, it certainly won't be in the next couple of months for the reasons already given.

--------------------
But of course, I could be wrong.

Posts: 858 | From: UK | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Errata
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quote:
Originally posted by LikeHeyScoob:
The math is wrong. An increase from 19.3 mpg to 27 mpg is closer to 45%, not 27%.

While I tend to agree with you here the way its stated, the 27% figure is probably the result of misinterpretation rather than miscalculation. If your fuel mileage is boosted by 45%, then the amount of fuel your engine uses mile for mile is cut by about 28%.
Posts: 2018 | From: Santa Barbara, California | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
jimmy101
The First USA Noel


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Well shadowduck here are a few givens that you should know. These things will be true 99.999999999999999999% of the time and will save you lots of time persuing dumb things.

1. There is no additive to gasoline that significantly increases the gas mileage of a standard car.

2. There is no device that can be added to a car (like magnets on the fuel line) that will significantly increase the gas mileage of a standard car.

3. There is no device that can be attached to your household water supply that will soften the water using only magnetism.

4. A copper bracket (or any metal for that matter) will not cure any diseases.

5. Perpetual motion is imposible. (The laws of physics don't even allow you to break even and you can't quit the game.)

Posts: 629 | From: Greenwood, IN | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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