I can save how much on gas?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

As I groggily lay in bed yesterday morning, punishing my snooze button, the local news ran a story about how to dramatically increase your gas mileage. They had me roped in, but I was skeptical that it would turn out to be the same old "don't mash your gas and brake pedals" line. I was wrong.

Instead it was a story about the hydro4000. An affiliate news station did a study on this fuel saver with one of their news vehicles, I think a Ram 1500. They attached this device to their engine for 30 days. Their gas mileage went from 9mpg to 23mpg. Hooey or not, I was interested. Being a fluids guy myself, I figured I'd be able to see what was really up, and expose this whole scam.

How it works

The hydro's website says that it turns your engine into a hybrid hydrogen fuel cell. While I think this is a vast stretch of the terminology being used to cash in on buzz words, there is a little bit of merit to it. After visiting the website, it is not exactly clear on how the technology works with your current fuel system, but the new cast said that it injects Hydrogen into your pistons' cylinders at the same time that gas enters, which will enable your gas to ignite more efficiently. So far, their basic concepts are holding up. Your engine does not ignite all of your gas, and a more hydrogen rich environment will both a) allow more gas to ignite and b) give a little boost when the hydrogen ignites as well.

The sensationalist part

The sensationalist part comes in partly from their website, and partly from the newscast. Their website states that you will see, on average, an increase of 30% fuel efficiency, not the 150% increase that the news team found. This makes me wonder what other maintenance was done around the same time to the news vehicle. The website does it part, too though, when they throw out one liners like, "Imagine a world free of Carbon Monoxide gas, the major pollutant created by industry and vehicles." This device will not produce those results. It is still used on internal combustion engines. These still produce greenhouse gases.


With a $1200 price tag, it doesn't come cheap. I'd like to see it in use for sometime also before I put on my car. One drawback to this system, too, is that it requires distilled water in the tank. Now, I don't know about most people, but I don't have a table top water distiller sitting next to my toaster. But for an extra $110-$150, it would only increase the overall costs by around 10%. But hey, if it works, it works. And with gas costing around $4.00 just about everywhere pretty soon, you would only need to fill up 1125 gallons before the unit and the distilled water unit payed for itself. For me that would be 56.25 fill ups, or 1.5 years.