Donate |

Gas-saving devices tested

These products that claim to improve fuel economy still don’t work

Last updated: February 2013

 

The cost of gas is always on the minds of drivers, so we decided to weigh in on products that promise better fuel economy. We have tested three: Fuel Genie, Platinum Gas Saver, and Tornado. Our advice: Don't waste your money. They don't work.

This isn't news. We've tested such devices over the years and have repeated tests of some products. The results: We have not found any that improve fuel economy. The Environmental Protection Agency, whose Web site lists scores of devices that the agency has tested over the past 35 years, including the Platinum Gas Saver, has had similar results.

 

Fuel Genie

Fuel Genie

 

The Fuel Genie ($89.95 plus $13 for shipping) is a plastic device with curved blades that fits inside the air-intake hose. It promises more power and better gas mileage. The airflow is supposed to allow for better performance. We installed the Fuel Genie in a 2004 Toyota Tundra and a 2004 Dodge Stratus. The instructions say that it will take two tanks of gas before the device is fully effective. We followed the instructions and ran our standard acceleration and fuel economy tests with and without the device, and saw no significant improvement in performance or fuel economy when using the Fuel Genie.

Tornado

Tornado Fuel Saver

 

The Tornado ($49.95 with shipping) is a similar device made of stainless steel with thin metal blades. Versions are sold for both carburated and fuel-injected engines. It is installed in the air inlet hose between the throttle body and the air filter.

We installed the fuel injector type in a Ford Ranger pickup truck and a Volkswagen New Beetle. We ran our standard acceleration and fuel economy tests with and without the Tornado installed. The Ranger saw no improvement in acceleration, while the New Beetle saw slightly worse performance. Neither vehicle showed an improvement in fuel economy. Although we didn't re-test the TornadoFuelSaver, we examined a sample and it appears identical to the previously tested Tornado device and we expect its performance would be the same.

Platinum Gas Saver

Platinum Gas Saver

The Platinum Gas Saver ($248 for two, free shipping) includes tubing and a plastic reservoir containing liquid. The National Fuelsaver Corporation claims the device is guaranteed to increase fuel mileage by 22 percent, in addition to extending engine life by cleaning out abrasive carbon deposits. It connects to a vacuum line leading to the intake manifold. The manufacturer says that the product adds microscopic amounts of platinum to the air and fuel going to the engine, helping your car burn gas more efficiently and cleanly.

In our previous tests, there were no changes in fuel economy after we installed the device in two test vehicles, a Nissan Altima and a Ford Excursion. We followed the manufacturer's instructions for installation and ran our standard acceleration and fuel economy tests with and without the device. The manufacturer says that the device may take from 200 to 1,800 miles before it is fully effective and that for greater success, you may have to advance your engine timing 10 to 12 degrees and/or install new oxygen sensors. But those actions alone could improve fuel economy if they were not set correctly or working properly.

After 500 miles of testing in each vehicle, we saw no improvements. We also replaced the oxygen sensors in both vehicles, even though the vehicles were new and the oxygen sensors did not need replacement. Both vehicles use computer-controlled electronic ignition timing designed to meet emission standards and deliver optimum fuel economy and performance, preventing us from advancing the engine timing. In more than 1,800 miles of driving, our tests showed no overall mileage improvements. In addition to the cost of the Platinum Gas Saver, consumers would have to pay for the oxygen sensors in each vehicle—about $140 for our vehicles—plus a labor charge for the work.

The bottom line: The best way to get the best mileage from a tank of gas is to follow the vehicle manufacturer's service schedule and fine-tune your driving habits. To learn more about saving fuel, see our guide to fuel economy.

   

E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters!
Choose from safety, health, cars, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Cars News

Connect

and safety with
subscribers and fans

Follow us on:

Cars

Cars New Car Price Report
Find out what the dealers don't want you to know! Get dealer pricing information on a new car with the New Car Price Report.

Order Your Report

Mobile

Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more