Best Buy: Gas-saving gadgets

(National) Aug. 6, 2004 - With so much concern over gas prices people love the idea of a device that promises to deliver better gas mileage. Consumer Reports tested several products that claim to improve your gas mileage.

The $80 Tornado Fuel Saver promises a boost of up to a 28 percent. David Champion of Consumer Reports says, "It's supposed to swirl the air as it goes into the engine, so you get better fuel-air mix and possibly more air into the engine."

The second device Consumer Reports tested works about the same way, though it's made of plastic. It's the $90 Fuel Genie. The third product is the $100 Platinum Gas Saver. It includes a platinum-containing mixture that's sucked into the engine and promises to increase your mileage by 22 percent.

Consumer Reports tested these products on the highway and on a track marked with speed posts and stop signs to simulate stop-and-go city driving. The tests showed none of the products lived up to their promises.

Champion says, "They made no difference in fuel economy. They made no difference in the performance of the vehicle. And, really the car manufacturers spend millions of dollars trying to get better vehicle performance. If these worked, they'd use them in a heartbeat."

To get maximum gas mileage Consumer Reports says keep your vehicle tuned and your tires properly inflated. That will do a lot more than any of the so-called fuel-saving devices it's tested.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency has also tested a number of products that promise to save gas. Like Consumer Reports, it hasn't found any yet that will significantly improve fuel economy.

by Judi Gatson

posted 6:00pm by Chris Rees

All Consumer Reports Material Copyright @ 2004 Consumers Union of U. S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED