Fuel Additives: Do They Actually Improve The Fuel Economy?


You may have seen numerous advertisements claiming premium fuels or fuel additives can improve a vehicle’s fuel economy. That’s quite an alluring appeal and you can easily read it on any bottle of fuel additive which you’ll buy. Even after spending a few bucks, you may still wonder if fuel additives are actually effective as what those commercials claim.

Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tested over 100 fuel products, including additives, which claim to improve fuel performance by a promising range of 15% to 25%. The study, however, revealed that none of the products stacked-up to their own claims and many could actually harm a vehicle’s engine.

There is a wide array of fuel additives available in the market, however, buying the one, which is compatible with your vehicle is quite a complex task. Essentially, every additive helps in relieving a different pain-point of any vehicle. Therefore, it’s important to understand about the most common types of fuel additives and how they can help.

  • Fuel Stabilizers: These are designed to maintain fuel’s efficiency, especially when your car is not in use. They also prevent hard starting issue due to gas separation and engine corrosion in seasonal vehicles like boats and RVs.

  • Octane Boosters: These help in increasing fuel’s octane rating and include a lubricant to protect the cast-iron valve seats, mostly found in classic cars.

  • Cooling System Additives: While most of the fuel additives are, at worst, harmless, experts warn against using engine cooling system additives, that claim to protect leaks in your vehicle’s mechanics. Result shows, that these work temporarily on small leaks, but will have no effect on larger leaks and could even cause severe damage to the vehicle.

Caution is the Only Way to Protect Your Vehicle

There are surely some benefits of using fuel additives, however, it’s important to use the right additive in right amount for your vehicle, as well as to have realistic expectations. Using too much of any particular fuel additive can damage sensors and other mechanical features of your vehicle’s engine. This way you’ll end-up spending more in the long run than you would have been dealing with any damage caused by typical deposit build-up. Therefore, it’s better to select the compatible additive, read the instructions carefully, and check your owner’s manual when in doubt.

Deciding on an appropriate additive is still painful… isn’t it?

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