The Varying Uses and Effects of Fuel Additives – They Are Not All Created Equal

At the gas pump you will see labels that list any number of additives that have already been combined with your fuel. Your gas station may also advertise additional additives you can purchase separately to add to your tank after filling up, each giving promises they may or may not be able to keep. So are additional fuel additives necessary?

Whenever gas prices begin to rise, the airwaves are blanketed with advertisements for fuel additives that can help improve your fuel economy. This is why many people frequently associate the term “fuel additives” with after-pump products that claim to save you money at the pump.  However, the claims made in the ads are rarely experienced by the consumer. Even the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) encourages consumers to be suspicious of gas-saving claims made by companies pushing fuel additives.

Aside from additives claiming to boost your fuel economy, there are other types of additives that can be good for your vehicle. Take a look at this list of categories to see the variety of fuel additives available:

  • Stabilizers – If you own a seasonal vehicle or equipment that doesn’t get year-round use, you could benefit from a fuel stabilizer. This type of additive will help reduce hard-starts that might be caused by various fuel components evaporating in the atmosphere between uses.
  • Anti-freeze – In colder weather, the condensation that can occur in fuel lines could cause them to freeze. An anti-freeze additive helps to disperse the condensation through the engine where it is vaporized into the exhaust stream.
  • Boosters –For those who own an antique or collector vehicle with a high-octane engine, an octane booster additive can help lubricate and protect the cast-iron valve seats in the car’s engine.
  • Cleaners – Cars with a clogged fuel injector will typically have a hard-start, poor cold-engine performance, and a sluggish acceleration. You can purchase additives labeled as fuel injector cleaners to help keep your engine clear of carbon deposits. There are also additives designed to clean your fuel injectors and help remove deposits from valves, pistons, and cylinder heads.

If your vehicle’s fuel economy has declined and you are considering the purchase of a fuel additive to help improve your gasoline consumption, there may be a better option. Instead of purchasing an additive that may leave you with unfulfilled expectations, check out our article on declining fuel economy to see our list of possible issues to check out.

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