Do Those Fuel Additives Work?

| 2/23/2011 4:46:07 PM

Tags: mpg, fuel, gasoline, miles per gallon, mileage,

Fuel AdditivesI have a friend who swears by those gasoline additives that claim to increase your gas mileage. I think they’re all worthless. Am I right? 

You can understand why people want to believe this type of product works. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could pour an additive or pop a pill into your gas tank at each fill-up that would significantly increase your car’s gas mileage? But fuel additives — both commercial and homebrewed — are almost always a waste of money. With one notable exception (keep reading), these additives simply will not increase your car’s mpg. If you really want better gas mileage, your best bet is to drive a fuel-efficient vehicle, and drive it frugally.

To understand why so many of these additives are ineffective, it’s helpful to understand that all modern engines are controlled by the vehicle’s on-board computer. The computer relies on sensors to adjust engine functions, including fuel delivery, ignition timing and — on the most advanced engines — when the intake and exhaust valves open and close. Mileage-boosting fuel additives claim to increase the combustion efficiency of gasoline. But the automaker programs a vehicle’s computer to have optimal fuel economy with straight gasoline in the tank. Change the chemistry, and you may actually find a decrease in both performance and mpg — if there is any real change at all. Also, consider this: If there really were safe, cost-effective additives to increase fuel economy, wouldn’t some gasoline brands already be trying to sell them to you (along with their gas)?

This is a “buyer beware” scenario. Some of these mpg additives come wrapped in elaborate marketing schemes designed to play on our desires to one-up Big Oil, save money and do the right thing for the environment. Don’t buy it. Don’t believe glowing user testimonials either. If these testimonials have any degree of truth, any actual changes in mileage after using mpg-enhancing additives are more likely due to a change in driving style than to the effects of the additive. A strong placebo effect can happen when people really want these additives to work in order to justify the expense. That enhanced motivation makes a driver pay more attention to driving efficiently, and the results are predictable. (Affecting your mileage through your driving habits is easier than many people realize. I evaluate cars and trucks for a living, and I can easily alter the fuel economy of a vehicle by as much as 25 to 30 percent by the way I drive it.)

You’ll also find some people who swear by homemade concoctions to increase fuel economy. Acetone, sometimes mixed with other chemicals, is a popular DIY fuel economy enhancer. This mpg trick may have other consequences however, such as shortening the life of your vehicle’s seals and gaskets, and perhaps harming the emission control sensors.

So what’s the one fuel additive that is worthwhile? Fuel injection cleaners can sometimes improve fuel economy. If you or your mechanic suspects that your injectors are gummed up and not functioning properly, cleaning the system with an additive may help increase fuel economy by helping the engine work the way the factory intended it to.

9/4/2015 11:24:06 AM

The best Fuel Enhancer in my opinion would be from Autoworks. It cleans your WHOLE Fuel system and adds to your engine life. Don't believe me? please look it up and tell me why it doesn't work when so many people are getting amazing results! Thanks!

11/2/2014 9:24:07 AM - provides a 100% money back guarantee as well. So if it doesn't work you lost nothing.

10/31/2014 3:06:14 PM

do not waste your money on these products they simply do not work

9/16/2014 12:35:32 PM

Good article, I agree that most fuel additives are garbage and designed to rip people off. I feel like a product should be based on the "cleaner" principle and if it claims it can help with fuel economy and such on the side, well that's just fine and dandy because helping keep the fuel injectors clean will definitely do that. Using liquid cleaners is a pretty cheap and safe way to maintain your fuel injectors from minor dirt and clogging issues, though they may not clean really dirty engines. In such cases, you might want to see a mechanic or get your hands on a injector cleaning kit. Still, if you have a newer car or have had your injectors manually cleaned, it's a fairly good idea to add some liquid cleaner as part of a regular maintenance cycle. For anyone looking for some recommendations, here are a few products to try out:

12/1/2013 12:18:42 AM

Have you heard of Xtreme Fuel treatment trust me it works like crazy, it gives me up to 30% on fuel economy. And my engine drives better. click on shop to purchase and try it is good stuff. And it's quite cheap to.

12/1/2013 12:18:34 AM

Have you heard of Xtreme Fuel treatment trust me it works like crazy, it gives me up to 30% on fuel economy. And my engine drives better. click on shop to purchase and try it is good stuff. And it's quite cheap to.

9/10/2013 1:51:00 PM

I use MIX-I-GO. It was invented way back in 1927 by Robert Bell. It burns clean and captures water. I use it in a 1966 Mercedes 250SE with mechanical fuel injection. I get better performance and about 2 mpg increase. I buy it from the manufacture Bell Performance in Florida.

8/20/2013 11:48:33 PM

Larry Gorman is right. Why would the fuel companies add something to their fuel so that people would buy less of it? It wouldn't make any sense. The fuel companies want to ride the oil express for as long as they possibly can. They do include additives to preserve the fuel based on pressures from the government and environmentalists, but everyone is the fool to believe they actually do anything but increase pollution. Oil-based additives can only burn "dirty." They can't possibly burn clean. Sorry folks. Only synthetics and organics can burn clean. See for yourself and take any fuel additive product (besides Xp3). Dip a Q-tip in it and light it up. Nothing but black smoke.

8/20/2013 11:43:53 PM

It's easy to see why most people believe "fuel additives" don't work. Most don't because they simply can't. What they are made of will not allow them to do what they claim to do. There's no shame in the marketing. The off-the-shelf products are not going to work. Check out the video at You'll learn why most products don't work and why this particular product does work.

8/3/2013 9:08:13 PM

Hi there , i also changed my motor oil in my light truck today and i put about half a quart too much , maybe 3/4 of a quart too much , now i'm worried if this will cause demage to my motor and blow all my seals or just ruin my motor ,

and in europe they just use super euro gasoline 94 and 98 , the 98 must mean 98 octanes , their gasoline there is expensive , and it smells different a little ,

why they use 89 octane lowest octane gasoline in north america and in europe they use lowest 94 octane gasoline ,

anybody know why ?



8/3/2013 9:03:33 PM

Hi there , my name is Tom C. and i put so many fuel additives in our vehicles that now i have questions , i say the guy who writes the intro front page here is right , i also say that these fuel additives do not work , i'm not a car mechanic and i don't know what happens in the engine when it's going and working and what kind of demage happen through time , but i bought like 5 or 6 different fuel additives by stp , lucas oil products , and gas treatments , water treatents , fuel injector cleaners , also octane booster i put in there and it's all mixed, now i don't know if this is okay to mix and if it work at all , like the front page say maybe the fuel injector cleaner work a little ,

if anybody knows very well if mixing the gas treatments and water treatments all those fuel gas additives if this is okay on the engine let me know , because i'll stop buying , and some of the octane boosters go for 15,99  $Cad , and others for 6,99 $ cad , i might be wasting my time and ruining my motor ,

my e-mail :

larry gorman
3/23/2013 2:58:00 AM

Number One, why would the oil companies want to use an additive that would cost them 5% - 20% plus profits? They use an additive in their brands now to comply with emissions pressure from the public and government. It's an additive that I would not use by choice. Over 4,000 additives on the EPA database website. If you want to use a truly legitimate fuel additive for gas or diesel, check out Omstar D-1280x fuel additive website at I've been using it over 6 years now and I'm still amazed at the results I get on mileage (20%-30%) with my Honda Civic with 138K miles. I used d-1280x in my construction water trucks and stopped all my black smoke and gained 2 miles to the gallon and saved on less downtime as well! A lot of truth in most of Todd Kaho opinions on fuel additive, but he most likely has not used D-1280x or knows of this product. It has more docs on testing (over 30 years) by EPA cert. labs and by the EPA and found it to have positive results. Don't leave out politics as an agenda for not knowing about this product. If you only new the story that surrounds this product. Go to their site and read about the founders behind this product. The inventor was the head chemist at Standard oil when he was asked by the heads of state to be in charge of the fuel in Europe during the 2ne World War. I will tell you this, if you try it, you will never stop using it. It's an all-purpose additive and 100% esters and non-hazardous.

travis dooley
8/12/2011 8:00:13 AM

I Know of an additive that does work and works in Gas or diesel and has been around for 25 years Send me an email for more information

erik bjornstad
4/19/2011 9:17:33 AM

Many additive companies prey on the misconceptions of consumers when it comes to fuel treatments - that you can use magnets to "align" your fuel molecules, that you can multiply the available energy of a unit of gasoline (which has a fixed chemical BTU content). I don't know that I agree 100% with what the author said, but there are certainly grains of truth to it - cleaning and improving the condition of the injectors and fuel system can go a long way towards improving gas mileage, because you restore the condition of the engine system to what it was at its new point, and this is the point where the vehicle is most efficient.

michael r. lehr sr
4/16/2011 1:02:04 PM


dave sure
4/16/2011 6:25:12 AM

The article was brilliant in that it pointed out how we can improve mileage. I have concluded, after using fuel additives through about 25,000+ gallons after 38 years of paying the bill for fuel. Please consider this: Additives to our fuel is what raises cetane values in diesel, octane in gasoline. Temperature has an effect. Dispersal [spray] has an effect. Pour it in and it will not burn well, neither completely nor hot enough. It needs an appropriate amount of air as well. What happens when appropriate chemicals make the fuel atomize better? If it contains chemicals designed to burn better, why would we decide it does not work? George Orwell once pointed out: In times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes an assertion of freedom. Some producers are deceitful. I know of one which produces the real product.

john rockhold
4/15/2011 11:29:58 AM

Hi Chris -- hopefully you'll find these articles helpful.

4/15/2011 9:52:54 AM

Thanks for the information. Now I'd love to read an article on how to improve driving habits for better mileage.

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