Thursday, April 20, 2006

Be wary of gas gimmicks like the much hyped Tornado that don't work and are overhyped scams.

I was sent this article from the Post. It outlines two highly advertised items that supposedly increase gas mileage as much as 30%. According to the EPA, FTC and numerous experts they are a complete sham. Don't buy them.

Gas Gimmicks But then high gas prices are known to fuel absurd ideas.

By Don Oldenburg

How else to explain increased sales of so-called gas-saving devices claiming to boost miles per gallon?
"Buyers really need to beware of these claims," says Chris Grundler, chief executive of the Environmental Protection Agency's National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Mich. "We have tested over 100 of these over the last 20 or so years and have found that very few of them provide any fuel economy benefits. Those that did were marginal." The hot fuel-saving technology this year is called the "Tornado." For $69, this air-swirling gadget installs in a car's intake and, supposedly, creates a "vortex" of air that results in more efficient combustion. Its ads say tests show the Tornado increases mileage from 11 percent to almost 29 percent.
Sound too good to be true? "Nobody can believe this!" says Jay Kim, president of Tornado Air Management, in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., the manufacturer.
Kim says sales are up like never before: "A lot of consumers just love it. Tens of thousands of them."
But the government doesn't love it. The EPA has tested similar air-moving gadgets and none worked. The agency evaluated the Tornado's data and found no reason to think it can improve fuel economy, says spokesman John Millett.
Automotive expert Pat Goss, who hosts "Goss's Garage" on WJFK-FM and NewsChannel 8 and is a regular on PBS's "Motorweek," has tested more than a thousand fuel-saving devices over 25 years at his auto repair business in Seabrook, including earlier and current versions of the Tornado. The best it tested was a 0.6 mpg increase; the worst, a decrease in fuel economy.
"We get these things all the time," says Goss. "Not one of them that we ever tested did anything significant."
Kim dismisses the EPA's remarks as a "big government thing. Nothing you can do." Goss's findings? "Hmm, really?" he says.
Another device called the FuelSaver-Pro promises to save up to 27 percent in fuel economy by realigning gas molecules using magnets boxed around the fuel line. Mark Ayoub, who markets the product on, says, "Sales have increased since gas prices have recently shot up."
But the EPA in November alerted the Federal Trade Commission that the maker of the $89.95 FuelSaver-Pro was making unsubstantiated claims by mixing results from different tests to boost its mileage claims.
The manufacturer, IRD International Research & Development in San Diego, did not reply to requests for interviews, but the FuelSaver-Pro Web site just changed its promotion.


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