Do Fuel and Oil Additives Really Work?

If you walk into any auto parts store in the country one of the products that takes up the biggest amount of shelf space are the fuel additives. It can actually be a little bit overwhelming to be sure as they all shout out how much gas they will save and how many more miles per gallon your car will get if you use their particular product.  The question however is this; do they actually work?  It’s certainly a good question as the average 1 pint bottle is about $8.00 or twice the cost of a gallon of gas.

The fact is, the EPA requires that any and all gasoline sold in the US contain a minimum amount of deposit controlling additives. These help to prevent sediment buildup in the engine’s fuel system and therefore will give you better mileage.  They also are only the minimum requirement and, as such, don’t always keep your car’s engine and fuel system as clean as it could be.

Studies have shown that indeed some types of fuel system cleaners do help keep your engine cleaner and thus running better, something that will increase your fuel economy. Some of these can remove existing deposits and will help your car to perform better.  The majority of these products contain the chemical polybutene amine (PBA) which can help clean some engine parts and increase performance.

The problem, however, is that PBA can actually lead to combustion chamber deposits.  This can then lead to increased emissions and even engine knocking problems. That’s not a good exchange for better fuel economy in our book.

Other types of additives (usually more advanced and thus more expensive) contain the chemical polyether amine (PEA) which can do the same job of cleaning and helping performance and also clean the combustion chamber, relieve cold-start problems and remove sulfur deposits from your car’s gas gauge sensor.

PEA was patented by Chevron but can now be found in many additives including STP, Valvoline and Gumout as well as Chevron’s Techron Concentrate Plus. Most auto dealerships actually use PEA in their service centers when they perform fuel injection cleaning, a service that costs about $150.00 on average.

What does that mean for you as a consumer who wants to increase fuel economy and save money?  It means you should buy an additive with PEA for about $15.00 and save about $135.00 on a fuel injection cleaning service! Now that’s some darn good advice that will save you big bucks and increase your gas mileage!  You’re welcome.


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