Can Acetone Dramatically Increase Your Gas Mileage?

By Will Chen on 16 April 2007 (Updated 8 June 2011) 303 comments

Can acetone dramatically increase your gas mileage? Wise Bread reader Kip Kay told us that by adding pure acetone into his gas tank, his car now gets 10 extra miles per gallon.

Take a look at Kip's proof for yourself (jump to 1:07):

Acetone is the active ingredient in nail polish remover. It is relatively cheap and therefore the idea that it can dramatically increase gas efficiency is very appealing. (See also: How to Cut Car Ownership Costs)

However, Tom and Ray of NPR's Car Talk say that claims of acetone increasing gas mileage is completely bogus:

It's worse than useless — it's also harmful. Acetone is the primary ingredient in nail-polish remover. And while it will burn and is a high-octane material, it's also a very powerful solvent. So while it's in your fuel system, it'll be eagerly dissolving all of your rubber components...like gaskets and O-rings.

I generally trust Tom and Ray, but as someone pointed out on the Snopes forum, Tom and Ray were following the advice of an oil industry expert, who could hardly be considered an objective source of information.

Acetone as a Fuel Additive

Acetone has also been repackaged as a fuel additive by various inventors. Do a simple Google Patent search for "acetone fuel efficiency" and see the results for yourself. Here's one example:

Roger Crawford, a businessman and independent researcher in Midland, Tex., takes a different approach to fuel economy. He has just begun marketing a gas additive he calls "XtraMPG." He says it boosts octane, burns cleaner and enables motorists to get better fuel economy and buy less expensive grades of gas — saving 10 to 15 percent overall on gas.

What's in XtraMPG? "Most of us know it as nail polish remover," Crawford says. "It is simple acetone, a nonhazardous organic chemical...rated at 150 octane."

Crawford says he'd be happy if everyone bought acetone and added it to their gas tanks. But since people seem reluctant, he's packaging it as XtraMPG.

The EPA hasn't tested XtraMPG. But the EPA's Chandler warns that consumers need to beware what gadgets and fuel additives they add to their cars — especially with today's computer-controlled fuel-injection systems. "There are other, more practical ways to save fuel," he says.

Source: Washington Post

While I found no conclusive proof that acetone can safely boost your gas mileage, there is abundant evidence that acetone is an active ingredient in many "engine cleaners" and "fuel boosters." If you are the adventurous type you might consider doing further research and try formulating your own acetone-based fuel booster — which is probably smarter than handing your money to people like Roger Crawford.

Kip's video also mentions many other wonderful gas-saving tips besides acetone. Make sure you watch the whole video and also check out our articles on gas efficient driving and other gas saving ideas.

2.25
Average: 2.3 (12 votes)
Your rating: None
ShareThis

comments

303 discussions

Add New Comment

CAPTCHA
This test helps prevent automated spam submissions.
Guest's picture
ShaneHater

Shane, You're a complete idiot! "For vehicles 1996 and newer the computer won't let the car get above a certain gas mileage." Where did you get this information from? Oh, you made it up, that explains it!

Guest's picture
GUEST

BEEN USING ACETONE AROUND 3 YEARS FOR 99 RANGER TRUCK,93 FORD TEMPO,AND 2 YEARS FOR 89 SUBARU.THEY ALL RUN SMOOTHER AND IT BOOST THE GAS UP.GIVES THEM MORE POWER.I USE 2 TO 3 OZS TO 10 GALS.

Guest's picture
Guest

...acetone is a major component in most injector/fuel system cleaners... if you add acetone every time you fill up, all you are doing is keeping the fuel system sparkling clean. Not a bad idea really... so if you start with an engine that had a lot of varnish and fuel system deposits accumulated over the years... you might see quite a difference in your fuel economy as the fuel system cleans.... that's why vehicles with a carb often see the greatest difference... this isn't rocket science. Raising the octane a point or two doesn't hurt either.... all acetone is, is an inexpensive fuel system cleaner. Pure acetone does not hurt a vehicle...but don't spill any on the paint.. use a funnel.