Can Acetone Dramatically Increase Your Gas Mileage?
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.