Fuel Economy FAIL: Illegal "Fuel Maximizers" Result In Fines For Dealership

Recently, the California EPA Air Resources Board paid a friendly visit to Sunrise Ford in North Hollywood and Fontana, California, and ended up slapping the dealership with a $175,000 fine. The ARB discovered what they reported as a “Fuel Maximizer” installed on 2005 to 2007 vehicles for sale on the lot. This part is supposedly intended to up the MPGs and performance by changing the air/fuel mixture. We all know that the California SMOG check is tighter than airport security, and performance parts like aftermarket air intakes, chips, and trick exhaust kits are known to earn a “fail.” No word as to whether or not they informed customers or used the part as a selling point. Who knows—maybe Sunset Ford is on a secret mission to save the environment.

The real question is: How do these fuel Maximizers, Optimisers, Twisters, Vortexes—whatever wacky name they have—propose they’ll work? It’s not surprising that most real-life testimonials prove disappointing.

On my quest for knowledge, however, I clicked through some pages and came across an old article by Popular Mechanics, where they gathered a variety of “fuel savers” and did some real dyno testing. The results in the story expose bad science and false promises, and even involve flames and the subsequent use of a fire extinguisher. Some products caused damage to stock parts. Others actually decreased performance. Read the full article here).

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