Fuel Additives

Most aftermarket fuel saving additives and devices are not cost-effective. There are a wide variety of pills, tablets, magnets, filters, etc. that all claim to improve either fuel economy and performance, however testing has proven that most of these do not achieve the levels of improvement that they claim. If a manufacturer cannot demonstrate measureable gains based on “years” of testing, it is likely just “snake oil.” If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.

If you do try them, first check to make sure that their use does not compromise your warranty. Some additives can also confuse engine management systems such as oxygen sensors. When it comes to aftermarket devices, you have to ask yourself that if these things were really advantageous, why would the car manufacturers not be installing them in the first place. If you do chose to try them, remember the biggest gain may only be the reduced weight of your wallet.

Premium fuel

Premium fuels contain additives that increase octane levels, which is simply a measure of how efficiently the fuel will ignite. It is not a measure of the fuel quality or how much power it will produce. It also will not improve your fuel consumption.

There are a small percentage of high performance vehicles which require higher octane gasoline for performance reason. Unless your car manufacturer requires the use of high octane gasoline, using premium fuel will not improve your fuel efficiency or reduce your vehicles emissions.

Ethanol and Biodiesel

Ethanol is a biodegradable clean burning fuel that can be made from renewable resources. In Manitoba the resource used is primarily surplus grain. It is sold as a blend with gasoline, 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline. Most conventional gasoline vehicles can use up to 10% ethanol without any modifications. These blends reduce emissions by up to 30%, however studies indicate that fuel economy can be reduced by 3 to 5%. Ethanol is available at Husky and Mohawk gas stations.

Ethanol blends can contain as much as 85 per cent ethanol, however these blends are not commercially available in Manitoba. In addition, in order to use E85 fuel, vehicles must be specially modified.

There is considerable debate about how useful ethanol will be in replacing gasoline. There are concerns about its production, use of large amounts of arable land required for the crops, and the energy/pollution involved in ethanol production.