From the snake oil sales of the 1800s to the questionable MPG enhancers of today, there's always a way to separate a sucker from his money. We asked Jalopnik readers to come up with the ten most ridiculous fuel-saving gimmicks this gas crisis has ever seen.
Welcome back to Answers of the Day — our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
10.) Toyota Prius
Why it's lame: Someday we'll miss having tricky Prius to kick around. When all cars are hyper-sanitized electromobiles, the Prius may look like muscle car, but in 2011 there is little reason to forgive this little Toyota for purging even the faintest whiff of driving dynamics from its design in the name of miles per gallon. Look for Beardy McBearderson and Grandma Likeskittensandthings behind the wheel and in the slow lane.
9.) Nitrogen-filled Tires
Suggested By: I Can Be Stig?
Why it's lame: Thanks to buzzworthy promotions of filling tires with nitrogen from the like of pit crews and the Nissan GTR, some people think that spending $7/tire at the local shop is a good investment. Thanks to some nerdy Jalopnik math, we now know that the air you fill your tire with, which is already mostly composed of nitrogen in the first place, probably doesn't have as much to do with how your tire wears down as you'd hope. Thanks, fanboi racing trends!
8.) Power Pills
Suggested By: Tonyola
Why it's lame: Don't give your car medicine. It is machine, an inanimate object. Do not give it pills. In case you have no idea how giving your car pills will help anything in any way, it looks like UBiee, the company behind this scam, doesn't have the slightest either, if this video testimonial is anything to go by.
7.) The Eco Pedal
Suggested By: Kate's Dirty Sister
Why it's lame: Pioneered by Nissan, the eco pedal is a gas pedal that pushes back on the driver's foot, preventing unseemly acts of fuel consumption. The system can be turned off, but do you want your car constantly reminding you to ease up and slow down?
Photo Credit: Nissan
6.) zMAX Micro-lubricant
Suggested By: Jack Trade
Why it's lame: zMAX Micro-lubricant has a whole line of snake-oil products that seem harmless enough, but what raises them above the fray of hackjob banality is the glowing endorsement they get from none other than Carroll Shelby. You won Le Mans in 1959 at the wheel of an Aston Martin DBR1, man, what happened?
Photo Credit: zMAX
5.) Electronic Engine Ionizer Fuel Saver
Suggested By: R2Dad
Why it's lame: Debunked no less than six years ago in Popular Mechanics, the Electronic Engine Ionizer Fuel Saver is still on sale! It turns out that the product is best at melting and catching fire and not so well acquitted to actually, you know, working. Buy one today, they even work with 12 cylinder engines!
Photo Credit: B&G Electronics, LLC
4.) Water Injection
Suggested By: Brian, The Life of - 3%er
Why it's lame: Water/methanol injection is an expensive modification that can indeed benefit high-compression, high-power engines. But why should a company restrict itself to such a small market? Why not sell the privilege of high-output engine modifications to everyday, low-compression car owners? It doesn't matter so much that it will do the exact opposite of its intended mission and sap horsepower as well as mileage from your car, so long as it's got a top-flight modification!
3.) Hydrogen Generators
Suggested By: Buckus
Why it's lame: Apparently, the makers of these in-car hydrolysis kits think that once you start throwing around fancy words like "hydrogen" people will just start handing you money. Let me just say that your car and its battery do not make an efficient hydrogen generator, so don't be pulled in by the mystical allure of "science" on this one.
Photo Credit: Hydrogen Fuel Cars Now
2.) Fuel line magnets
Suggested By: What Floors?
Why it's lame: In spite of not knowing how they work, people still seem to be buying little magnets to stick on their fuel lines. There is no need to align the molecules in your fuel line using magnets. I don't even know where to start with that concept.
Photo Credit: Type One Racing
1.) Fuel Doctor FD-47
Suggested By: lownslowbimmer
Why it's lame: Fuel Doctor USA claims, "[t]he Platinum FD-47 increases a vehicle's miles per gallon through power conditioning of the vehicle's electrical systems. Conditioned and clean power allows the vehicle's electronic control unit (ECU), fuel injection and engine timing equipment to operate more efficiently. When the vehicle's engine runs more efficiently, it will require less fuel, produce more power, resulting in reduced exhaust emissions (reduced CO2)." An amazing statement given that what you are buying is an LED light that plugs into your cigarette lighter. All the techno mumbo-jumbo in the world can't stop this from being one of the more brazen attempts to use pseudo-science to fool would-be hypermilers. Still, there's a sucker born every minute and the Fuel Doctor FD-47 is still on sale!
Photo Credit: Fuel Doctor USA