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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Caveat Emptor - Buyer beware

The following is an article from CNN concerning several performance gadgets - BioPerformance pills, the Tornado vortex generator, and the EnergyCell fuel line magnets. All three are "snake oil" products.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Liz and Rocky Rothwell, a retired couple from Orlando, Florida, thought they could save money on gas by dropping a little green pill called BioPerformance in their car's tank.
"When it goes in your gasoline, it disperses out. It's supposed to increase the mileage in your car from anywhere from 25 to 30 percent," Rocky Rothwell said.

The Rothwells had such high hopes for this product that they went to a company presentation and signed on as distributors in a multilevel marketing plan.

But the pill turned out to be a dud, according to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

Abbott had the pills tested. He concluded that the pills didn't work and he found they were made mostly of naphthalene, the same stuff that used to go in mothballs.

Abbott shut down the Texas-based BioPerformance and is suing the company and its owners for allegedly running a scam that cost people such as the Rothwells thousands of dollars.

Responding to inquiries via a letter, an attorney for Gustavo Romero, one of BioPerformance's founders and owners, writes: "It is our expectation that additional scientific testing will answer the issue once and for all."

At a time when gas prices are near record highs, many people are searching for ways to make their gas money go a little bit further. And there are a number of products on the market that claim to stretch a few more miles out of a gallon of gas.

CNN teamed up with Popular Mechanics magazine and auto mechanics from the Universal Technical Institute in Houston, Texas, to run individual tests on a couple of other "gas-saving" products.

First, we determined the base line by running vehicles without any of these add-on products.

Mike Allen, an automotive guru and senior writer with Popular Mechanics, then installed a set of magnets that are supposed to align the molecules in the fuel so it burns more efficiently.

"This is one of the more elaborate fuel line magnets I've ever seen," Allen observed. "It's got three really powerful bar magnets, and it sort of straddles the fuel lines so the fuel goes through the middle."

But when we ran the engine with the magnet installed, the vehicle's gas mileage decreased by about 10 percent.

"We're theorizing that the magnetic field is so powerful it is interfering with the wiring in the fuel injectors," Allen said.

Energy Cel, the company that makes the magnets, said its product works and that it has been tested "... with positive results."

"We are dismayed that your mechanics did not have the proper training for placement and testing of our magnetic device," the company said. "We always welcome testing of our products by qualified, trained personnel that use the proper procedures. If tested correctly, our product works."

Next up was the Tornado, a device that turns air inside a car's air intake valve into a mini-tornado. The manufacturer -- Tornado Air Management Systems -- said it makes engines burn fuel more efficiently.

In the test, the Tornado reduced a Lincoln Navigator's fuel mileage by just under a mile per gallon, from 18.4 mpg without the device to 17.5 mpg with it installed.

But the manufacturer stands behind the Tornado: "We have more than 100,000 satisfied customers. Our product works."

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency did not test the same products that we did, but it has checked out more than 100 products that make similar gas-saving claims over the last 30 years and none has worked, according to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson.

"It's a scam," Johnson said.
 

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Yeah, I have even seen the magnet devices being marketed to senior citizens to be worn around chest. "It aligns the blood cells so they flow through clogged arteries more efficiently." as they claim, "In long run, it has the Drano effect of unclogging the arteries."
 

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Awww man! And I was just about to get me a shiney new "Vortex Generator" for the Mo from EvilBay.

I'm really skeptical about any "mod" short of converting your engine to run on McDonalds Fry Grease actually returning a benefit enough to offset what it cost you to "save" those gas sippings. This applies to not only the crazy ones mentioned above but also Intakes & Exhaust (or Tonneus on trucks) applied to obtain higher gas mileage.

If it's bothering you that badly you need to be driving a 2000 Honda Civic HX :).
 

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Nitrogen hype mostly hot air

BY MARK PHELAN
FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

August 6, 2006

Filling his tires with nitrogen may help Mark Martin race his Ford Fusion at NASCAR's Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis today. But despite the claims of some retailers, it's not likely to do you much good when you drive to work tomorrow.

A street car's "tire doesn't care if it's filled with air or nitrogen," said Richard Gratz, General Motors' engineering group manager for tire and wheel systems.

That's a far cry from the breathless promises some retailers make: "You could save up to $150 a year on gas" using nitrogen, according to one ad. Another pledges tires "will last longer, and you'll get better gas mileage."

With gasoline prices at record highs, that gets your attention. Retailers across the country -- from the neighborhood tire shop to warehouse giant Costco -- are offering nitrogen fill-ups to improve gas mileage and prolong tire life.

Some fill every tire they sell with nitrogen for free. Others charge $2 to $5 to fill any tire with the gas, which is the most plentiful element in Earth's atmosphere.

"It won't hurt, but we feel that the claims are greatly exaggerated," said Gratz, who oversees testing and development of the millions of tires GM buys every year.

But if nitrogen is good enough for the 200-m.p.h. race cars at the Indianapolis 500, it'll do wonders for your Dodge Voyager minivan, right?

Not necessarily, says Terry Hendricks, a chassis engineer for Roush Performance Products, the Livonia-based engineering house that helped develop the 500-horsepower Ford Shelby GT 500. Nitrogen makes a difference for highly stressed racing tires, but it's not likely to make a difference on even high-performance street cars, he said.

Racers use nitrogen because it leaks out of tires more slowly than regular air, said Belle Tire training manager Gary Schlachter. It also contracts and expands less than air as the temperature changes. Belle Tire puts nitrogen in every new tire it sells and will fill other tires for $4 each.

"Nitrogen maintains more consistent tire pressure over time, and this can improve fuel economy and tire life" in normal driving, Schlachter said.

Matt Mio, associate professor of chemistry at the University of Detroit Mercy, said nitrogen's chemical behavior doesn't support those claims.

The retailers' claims "are more marketing than real effect," Mio said.

Costco, which markets nitrogen fill-ups in the tires it sells, did not return phone calls.

"We have seen no data that there's any difference in fuel economy," GM's Gratz said. "Correct tire pressure is the key. Drivers should check it every month. We don't want people getting a false impression that they don't need to check their tires as frequently."

Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., the largest U.S.-based tire maker, declined to comment on whether nitrogen improves fuel economy or tire life. But Goodyear is focusing on its Free Air campaign, which encourages drivers to keep their tires at the manufacturer's recommended pressure.

Everybody involved seems to agree that works.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
'Gas Pill' Company to Pay Restitution
Associated Press 01.23.07, 1:23 PM ET

A company that sold a small, smelly "gas pill" it claimed would boost fuel efficiency in vehicles has been ordered to pay more than $7 million in restitution to duped customers, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced Tuesday.

Abbott sued the owners of Dallas-based BioPerformance Inc. last year under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices act and alleged the company engaged in an illegal pyramid scheme.

Under the settlement approved and signed by a judge Tuesday, the company agreed to stop marketing the pills as a product that could drastically improve mileage.

The pills, which were to be dropped into a vehicle gas tank, were merely the same chemicals used in mothballs and toilet bowl deodorant bars. Lab tests showed they did nothing to improve mileage, Abbott said.

The company and its owners must pay $7.3 million in restitution for customers another $550,000 in fines and attorneys fees, Abbott said.

The company had claimed about 4,500 customers in Texas thousands more nationwide. Abbott's office said it received about 1,000 complaints from consumers across the country.
 
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