(LOS ANGELES, April 27, 2006) — With gas prices at record high levels statewide, drivers may be tempted to buy gasoline additives that claim to improve vehicle mileage. The Automobile Club of Southern California is advising consumers that available gas additives are unlikely to save them money on gas.
"The Auto Club has tested dozens of these formulas over the years, and we have yet to find one that actually improves vehicle mileage," said Steve Mazor, the Auto Club's principal automotive engineer and the director of the Auto Club's Automotive Research Center. "Don't waste your money — especially now that we are spending so much more for gas."
Fuel additives are sold in automotive supply stores, on the Internet and through multi-level marketing organizations. They are not supposed to harm vehicle engines because they must be tested before they legally can be sold, Mazor said. But the tests mandated by the federal Environmental Protection Agency only require proof that the additives do not harm the car or increase the pollution it emits, he said. The tests do not have to show that the product actually improves mileage.
Motorists who want to save money on gas should instead look to their driving habits and choices as the most effective way to improve vehicle mileage, said Mazor.
"People drive more aggressively and at higher speeds today than they did 30 years ago," Mazor said. "Driving style is probably the single most important factor in determining how much gas you use each time you drive. Drivers who slam on their accelerators and slam on their brakes will waste much more gas than those who use their gas and brake pedals gently and anticipate traffic slowdowns.
"Aggressive driving can reduce your fuel economy by as much as 50 percent," Mazor added.
Properly inflating tires, carpooling when possible and using your household's most fuel-efficient vehicle more often are other ways to save on gas, Mazor said. For more tips, visit an Auto Club office or go to aaa.com to obtain the "Gas Watcher's Guide."
The Automobile Club of Southern California, the largest affiliate of the AAA, has been serving members since 1900. Today, the Auto Club's members benefit by roadside assistance, insurance products and services, travel agency, financial products, automotive pricing and buying programs, automotive testing and analysis, trip planning services and highway and transportation safety programs. Information about these products and services is available on the Auto Club's Web site at www.aaa.com.