Fuel Additives for Better Gas Mileage?

Dear Tracy,
I can’t afford a more fuel efficient car right now, but the high price of gas in my area is killing my budget. I have heard that certain fuel additives are available that can improve the gas mileage of my car. Is this true?
Devyn M.

Dear Devyn,
While the claims of fuel additive makers may sound great, you are wise to be skeptical. Advertising can often promote substantial gas savings, however, according to  the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information website, those claim generally have little to back them up.

Decades of research and technology have gone into the development of today’s vehicle engines. Engineers have a keen understanding of the demands placed on engines – they are engineered for optimal performance under the most taxing conditions, and built to be reliable with proper maintenance. While some fuel additives may provide some modest benefits, your engine was developed to provide optimal performance without the need for enhancements like these. If you still have questions, rather than trust a clerk at your local auto supply chain, check with your mechanic. He or she will have the knowledge and experience to advise you on the needs of your particular vehicle.

In the meantime, here’s a few quick tips that will help you improve your gas mileage:

Keep your tires at the right pressure
Always check your tire pressure and keep them inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure.
Do not neglect  oil changes
Stay on schedule and use the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil for optimal performance.

Regularly check tire tread
Remember that worn out tires are not only unsafe, they cause your vehicle to operate less efficiently.

Use cruise control  on the highway
Maintaining a safe and consistent speed will keep you from getting a ticket and improve your gas mileage.

Always combine trips
Plan your trips – you’ll be surprised to discover how much you can save on the gas budget.