FuelMax Mashup

[social_buttons] Fuel saving scams, er, devices, have been around for a long time, and now that fuel prices are soaring again, we decided it would be a good time to take a look at a few of the most popular and interesting ones out there.

Since the start of the Iraq War in 2003, oil prices have jumped from $28 per barrel to over $130, with most of that rise occurring in the last year. This fact is made even more stark considering that for all of the last century prior to the current meteoric rise, crude oil prices have averaged about $20 per barrel (adjusted for inflation).

Economists and pundits continue to tussle over who or what is to blame for this, and I could hypothesize about how we’re all being taken to the cleaners by corporate greed, but that’d be a waste of energy, no? The important issue is that fuel costs have gone past the “arm-and-a-leg” stage and are now approaching “firstborn son.”

So, while I’d love to say that hydrocarbon fuel prices don’t matter because we’ve entered the hybrid-biofuel- electric-fuel-cell-hydrogen society, the reality is that I need a fix for my old jalopy quick… and what better place to start than a perusal of some of the spectacular deals to be had on the internet?

First up: FuelMAX

FuelMax ThumbBetter living through magnets, grandad always said. FuelMAX is a magnetic device that you attach to your car’s fuel line to “fracture gasoline hydrocarbon chains through magnetic resonance.” According to the company this could increase your mileage by 27% along with a whole host of other interesting side effects.

Unfortunately, you can’t buy FuelMAX anymore (in the US that is – in Latvia it’s still alive and well). Apparently, it was so popular and worked so well that the US Federal Trade Commission told FuelMAX’s parent company, International Research and Development, to take it off the US market and give people their money back.

Damn big brother, always destroying the hopes and dreams of fledgling corporations. Not to worry though, there are a myriad of other companies out there that sell essentially the same thing and who the Feds have left alone up to this point. Some even go so far as to not only put magnets on the fuel line, but also on the coolant and air intake (Video).

My Take: Magnet fuel savers work so well that the US government is involved in a conspiracy to systematically remove them from existence.

Next up: Cyclone Fuel Saver

Cyclone ProductWhen I was younger we used to watch hours of late night infomercials for fun. You know, the kind where they cover a car in a special wax made of what looks like cosmic fairy dust, and then they shoot a laser at it to show those microscopic fairies in action deflecting the laser from your beautiful car?

In retrospect, watching infomercials for fun was kind of lame, but if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have fond memories of products like the Cyclone Fuel Saver. This baby purports to create “a swirling air motion, allowing the air to move faster and more efficiently by continuously whirling air around corners and bends.” Which does what exactly? Apparently the swirling effect helps “atomise the air/fuel mixture in the combustion chamber” which results in a “more complete and efficient burning of the fuel.”

Wow. That sounds totally rad. And I bet it works too. If for some reason you can’t get your hands on one, not to worry, there are lots of other air intake modifications to be had. For instance, the Turbonator comes with “FlowTru™” technology which allows for the maximum amount of air to get to your engine. Also, if you’re inclined to dig around on such things, the Turbonator will make you instantly more popular with women as evidenced in this photo.

My Take: The Cyclone Fuel Saver must not work that well because the Feds haven’t shut it down yet and its been around for at least 10 years.

Last, but for sure not least: Water4Gas

Water4Gas ProductAlthough instantly less cool than other fuel savers because it’s not technically a product and more of a description, Water4Gas has been getting a lot of the limelight recently… as it should. I mean, this company website has it all: vibrant color schemes, third-grade HTML proficiency, a video featuring Jimmy Carter, endless scrolling possibilities, and a money back guarantee from some guy named Ozzie Freedom. Ozzie Friggin Freedom. With a name like that he must be on the up-and-up.

Plus, Water4Gas has been tested on like 30 continents, or something, further proving its reliability. For only $97 you can get access to some online manuals that describe how you can spend a minimum of another $100 to modify your car to inject “hydrogen-on-demand” into your engine. Sounds like a winner to me. Mr. Freedom even has his own fan club that provides an unbiased and totally trustworthy review of the Water4Gas system.

Actually, of the three fuel saving systems included in this article, the Water4Gas type seems to have a very loyal following. Known alternatively as “waterhybrids” or “HHO systems,” some of them have been tested by seemingly reputable news organizations with actual positive results. However, based on the fact that advertisements on the Hydro4000 website make it look like the news station and Hydro4000 are in on some kind of scheme together, my trust in the news story is quite low. Plus, at $1,200 you’d have to have a major stash of money set aside for delusions of grandeur to actually buy one of these things.

My Take: The Water4Gas website is so bad that it must be a good product.

All joking aside, the sane part of my mind screams to me that these waterhybrid claims are so far gone that the products can’t be for real. Yet, as much as it pains me, I’ve got to say the jury’s still out on this one. Anybody have any personal experience they care to share? Any idea of how much energy is required to split water into its component parts and the ensuing energy balance (or imbalance) that would be present in a waterhybrid?

A recent post on Gas 2.0 details a system similar to waterhybrids that appears to have the backing of a university. That post generated some good cautionary comments regarding free energy, conservation of energy, and overall energy efficiency of a whole system such as an entire automobile. Any further thoughts on this topic?

Reality Check

Listen folks, if the claims make it seem like a product will do ridiculous things, then its probably a ridiculous product. Most experts say that fuel saving devices are largely scams and that, in lieu of expensive things like buying a more fuel efficient vehicle or completely changing your car’s aerodynamics, the only true way to increase your fuel mileage cheaply is the good old standby of changing your habits to up your car’s efficiency. In fact, in a post on Gas 2.0, Benjamin Jones points us to “100+ EcoDriving Tips to get Better Mileage in Your Car” and Edmunds.com has done its own field testing of many of these recommendations. Check them out and save your money.

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Image Credit: adapted from d70Focus under Creative Commons