Science or Snake Oil?

Here’s a blog entry for the guys; we aren’t sexist, it is simply that access to the information we will discuss is generally in Popular Mechanics Magazine and not in Vogue or Better Homes & Gardens. In addition, one doubts women are gullible enough to fall for this stuff.  So, guys, take a trip back to the 20th century in the days when squeezing an extra mile per gallon or two of the old gas guzzler was a major concern. The following list will take you back to the barbershop and hot rod magazines.

  • Fuel OptiMiser – a device you could buy for about 20 bucks that would magnetically rearrange your fuel molecules making your gas burn more efficiently. 
  • Intake Twister – another $20 item that “spreads out” your fuel to increase mileage and horsepower.
  • TornadoFuelSaver – a device designed to create a “tornado” effect in your fuel intake increasing your mileage and power.
  • Electronic Engine Ionizer Fuel Saver – electrochemically changing your fuel characteristics to increase gas mileage. 
  • Fuel Atomizer 2000 – atomizes twice as much fuel as your carburetor resulting in astounding increases performance. 
  • Aquatune  – atomizes fuel and water to increase performance and, finally,
  • Turbonater – now VortecCylcone  that turbo charges your fuel.

All of the advertising pitches for these devices were a wonderful read. They promised fantastic gas mileage, increased horsepower and performance enhancements that seemed astronomical. They had one thing in common; they were effective in separating the unwary from their money. Oh, and they did have another thing in common – none of them actually worked. No matter what promises and claims were made, independent tests were never able to confirm the manufacturer’s claims.

This is not to say that one day a brand-new product put together by a couple of guys in a garage in Washington could not come along and double your gas mileage. It only suggests that so long as automakers remain competitive and gas mileage remains a salable feature in automobiles, it is more likely to be the auto companies than shade tree mechanics who discover any big breakthroughs in fuel efficiency.  

That said, the next generation of power salesmen is already among us. Another fuel additive has turned up in the form of “Envirotabs” – a product that claims both better mileage and a cleaner burn.  There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of product reviews yet, but there are opportunities to get in on the ground floor … 

Air powered cars were slated for introduction here as early as 2009; we haven’t seen any driving around here in Western Washington.  Zero Pollution Motors has a license to build and market cars for sale in the U.S.  They could be here any day now – but I wouldn’t hold my breath.  The story seems to have been these same for years, just around the corner.

Water powered cars are also claimed to be on the horizon. These are also not hypothetical vehicles, since water can be broken down into hydrogen and oxygen and hydrogen is pretty combustible, you can run a vehicle on water. All you really have to do is find an efficient way to convert the water into hydrogen and oxygen.  

Simple matter of physics, right?  Or maybe we can get congress to repeal the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

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