Fuel Additives That Will Improve Gas Mileage

by Allen Moore
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While there is no magic pill to turn your vehicle into a gas-sipping dream machine, there are a few additives you can pour into your fuel tank when you fill up at the pump that can help maximize your vehicle's fuel mileage. The best rule of thumb, when purchasing additives, is to avoid products that make miracle claims or are manufactured by companies you've never heard of. It's also best to consult your repair technician about what may work best for your specific vehicle and driving conditions. Keep in mind, these additives might increase fuel mileage while decreasing your savings due to their cost.

Octane Booster

Gasoline has an octane rating, which measures the potential energy stored in the gasoline which can be converted to kinetic energy when the gas is mixed with air and burned in your engine's combustion chamber. Higher octane ratings mean cleaner burning fuel and better performance. Quality octane boosters can be purchased at your local auto parts store and at some gas stations. Follow the directions on the bottle for using the specific product. It's also best to avoid overdoing the octane booster as higher octane fuel burns hotter, and some engines and exhaust systems can easily be harmed by excessive heat in the combustion chamber.

Cetane Booster

Diesel fuel is given a cetane rating, much the same as a gasoline's octane rating. Unfortunately, the government has much stricter regulations when it comes to octane ratings, and diesel fuel suppliers can get away with lower octane levels than what they advertise. Most modern diesel engines need a cetane rating of at least 40. You can purchase cetane boosters from diesel repair shops, truck stops and various online distributors. It's best to follow the recommendations on the bottle when using a cetane booster.

Fuel System Cleaner

An unfortunate truth about both gasoline and diesel fuel is the vast amount of impurities that find their way into fuel tanks. From the sediment in storage tanks at fuel depots, to the flotsam inside tanker trucks and the dirt that builds up in fuel station tanks, the fuel burned in our vehicles is full of foreign material. These contaminants leave deposits on fuel injectors that rob the fuel system of its designed efficiency. Running a fuel system cleaner, such as Techron for gasoline engines, or Stanadyne fuel system cleaner for diesel engines, is a good idea. It's best to run the fuel system cleaner through your tank once every eight to 10 fill ups. Fuel system cleaners can be purchased at most auto parts stores and some filling stations.

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