Do Fuel-Economy Gadgets offer any benefits?
When gas prices are unpredictable and fluctuate wildly, many truck owners look for ways to improve fuel economy. Unfortunately, there are plenty of "snake oil" salesmen preying upon the good intentions of motorists trying to save a few dollars at the pump. These unscrupulous types use infomercials, cheap classifieds and the Internet to hawk all types of "scientifically proven" or "consumer tested" gadgets that guarantee better fuel economy.
Sometimes costing hundreds of dollars, these products often promise "instant savings" and offer dozens of "customer testimonials." In the latest twist, ads for the products take a political and environmental stance, promising less dependency on foreign oil and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. The promoters of these products tug at every vulnerable consumer emotion and fear to sell a product. Despite the claims and purported supporting evidence, there is rarely any scientific foundation to verify the product's effectiveness.
So if you ask why the Tundra doesn't have magnets in the fuel line to "break up the fuel" or a series of wind vanes in the air-inlet to "supercharge" the airflow, you definitlely need to visit the Environmental Protection Agency website. The EPA has conducted exhaustive tests on numerous products that claim to enhance fuel economy and/or reduce emissions. You can download .pdf files of test reports and scientific analysis on individual products by trade name. Some of the tests date back to the 1970s.
A few of the products did improve fuel economy, reports the EPA. However, there was usually a noticeable trade-off in lost power or drivability. And there's always the possibility that mechanical changes to a new vehicle can interfere with warranty coverage if the engine is damaged. Any foreign matter introduced to the fuel or intake systems can dislodge and damage engine internals. The Federal Trade Commission also weighed in on the subject and warns consumers to be "highly skeptical" of gas-saving claims. One product even started an engine fire during testing.
It is important for you to know that Toyota relies on the expertise and experience of hundreds of engineers to design and develop truck engines and transmissions that deliver optimum fuel economy, while providing the power needed to tow and haul heavy cargo. The i-Force engine family uses advanced technology such as dual overhead camshafts (DOHC), Dual Independent VVT-i, 4-valves per cylinder and 4-into-2-into-1 tubular exhaust manifolds to help improve fuel economy without giving up torque and horsepower.
The fact is, if a miracle device that dramatically improved fuel economy existed, every manufacturer would be using it.
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