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Auto Club, SEMA Team Up On Fuel Economy Challenge

(LOS ANGELES, Nov. 6, 2008) The Specialty Equipment Market Association and the Automobile Club of Southern California have collaborated on a fuel economy challenge for automotive companies. Devices by these companies were tested by the Auto Club’s Automotive Research Center to determine which can help consumers get better gas mileage.

High gas prices have left many motorists who own large vehicles with few options for using their vehicle due to expensive fill-ups. Motorists with more fuel efficient vehicles also were feeling the pinch at the gas station. Aftermarket power train devices may help motorists and businesses obtain enhanced fuel economy.

The SEMA/Auto Club of Southern California Fuel Economy Challenge tested a gasoline-powered 2008 Ford F-150 L V8; 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe 5.3L V8; and a 2008 Dodge Charger 3.5L V6. Enterprise Rent-a-Car, one of the SEMA/Auto Club Fuel Economy Challenge’s partners, supplied the tested vehicles.

“Products that showed the largest miles per gallon gain for each vehicle were declared winners of the challenge. Winners are being showcased in the Green Zone of the 2008 SEMA Show in Las Vegas this week,” according to Steve Mazor, manager of the Auto Club’s Automotive Research Center. “One product saves a motorist, driving a Ford F-150, 36 gallons per year, or $108 when gasoline costs $3 a gallon.”

Twenty four products were tested (nine on the Dodge Charger, eight on the Chevy Tahoe, and seven on the Ford F-150) at the Auto Club’s Automotive Research Center in Diamond Bar and at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. They included:
  • Ignition Coils
  • Air intake devices (to provide swirl)
  • Cold air intake systems
  • Throttle body spacer plates
  • Lubricants (engine and fuel)
  • Catalyst-back exhaust systems
  • Air filters
  • Turbochargers
  • Oil filters
  • Re-programmers
  • Voltage stabilizers
  • Fuel additives
  • Hydrogen generators
  • Underdrive pulleys
  • High ratio rocker arms
  • Combinations of the above categories


Dodge Charger: None of the products tested on the 2008 Dodge Charger improved mileage.

Chevrolet Tahoe: One product caused a measurable improvement in fuel economy on the 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe. SLP Performance’s kit (cold air intake, cat-back exhaust, underdrive crankshaft pulley, higher ratio rocker arms, and a reprogrammer) showed a 4.1% improvement (0.58 mpg). 0-60 mph acceleration was improved from 9.51 seconds to 8.80 seconds (7.5%). This product is legal for sale in all 50 states. It saves a motorist 36 gallons of fuel per year or $108 at $3 a gallon.

Ford F-150: Three products showed a measurable improvement in mileage:
  • Gibson Performance Exhaust’s cat-back exhaust system showed a 2.6% improvement (0.36 mpg). There was no improvement in acceleration. Catalyst-back exhaust systems are considered a “replacement part” by CARB so no Executive Order (EO) is required.
  • Edge Product’s Evolution Flash Programmer showed a 1.1% improvement (0.16 mpg) using the “Towing” program selection. This product is legal for sale in all 50 states.
  • Squire’s Turbo Systems turbocharger system showed an improvement of 4.6% (0.64 mpg). Acceleration was improved from 10.91 seconds to 8.32 seconds (23.7%). This product is a prototype.

In addition to being featured at the SEMA show, information gleaned from the challenge is expected to be used by consumers on their current vehicles. Consumers will be able to obtain information about where to purchase the winning products through the manufacturers advertising. Results also will be used for future research and development by SEMA member companies, said Mazor. The Auto Club does not endorse any of the winning products, said Mazor.
Automatically eliminated from the challenge were products that didn’t increase fuel economy or increased harmful hydrocarbon, carbon monoxide or oxides of nitrogen emissions or caused the vehicle’s “check engine light” to illuminate, he added.
Baseline mileage to 60 mph acceleration times were determined at the start of the challenge. Products that show mpg improvements without emissions increases will have “with product” 0 to 60 mph times measured under similar weather conditions to those of the baseline tests per Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) guidelines.

The 2008 SEMA Show runs from Nov. 3-7. The show is the premier automotive specialty products trade event in the world. It draws the industry’s brightest minds and hottest products to one place, the Las Vegas Convention Center. The SEMA Show attracts more than 120,000 industry leaders from more than 100 countries.
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The Automobile Club of Southern California is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in the following California counties: Inyo, Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare, and Ventura.