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Article Teaser: More particularly in these current times of consumer anxiety about the high cost and escalating prices of gas, a growing number of fuel-saving myths and bogus claims and advertisements have developed, or grown stronger, among American and Canadian drivers understandably anxious to find a way out of the high fuel cost problem, about certain products or gadgets that are supposed to yield fuel savings. This article, excerpted from the author's latest book, describes, for the education and benefit of consumers, some of the primary warning signs and ways for spotting such schemes and products that often scam consumers and fail to actually produce what their marketers claim.

Keep reading below...

How To Immediately Spot Scammy 'Gas-Saving' Claims And Schemes

Copyright (c) 2008-2017

Fact: fuel-saving schemes and scams rise and fall with the trend in fuel prices

In the preceding articles that I published on this topic, I made one essential historical point. Namely, that, by most auto industry and government experts' account, as a general historical proposition in North America, and probably in the world, whenever gas prices are on the rise, so also does the volume of fuel-saving myths rise, as well as the volume of bogus claims about "gas-saving" gadgets and products, and of deceptive commercial advertising, and fraudulent schemes and scams.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the well-trusted American Federal Government agency that is charged with protecting the public from consumer fraud and public scams, explains it this way: "When gasoline prices rise, consumers often look for ways to improve fuel efficiency. Gas prices are up, and so is the volume of advertising for 'gas-saving' products." To be sure, says the FTC, "there are some practical steps you can take to increase gas mileage." However, the agency sternly warns, consumers should be "wary of any gas-saving claims for automotive devices or oil and gas additives," adding that even for the few gas-saving products that have been found to work, the savings they yield, have been small.

From the practical standpoint, the gas-saving products on the market which are frequently peddled to consumers, fall into a few clearly defined categories. True, as a practical matter, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or EPA, the product testing arm of the U.S. federal government, has not physically tested or evaluated every single product advertised or marketed. However, it has tried to examine at least one product in each category as to be able to draw its reasonable conclusions generally about the products.

Some Warning Signs Of Sham "Gas-Saving" Advertising Claims

According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, here are some warning signs which should immediately ring a bell to you as to the legitimacy of any advertisers (and their products) who make certain kinds of advertising claims.

1. Claims such as "This gas-saving product improves fuel economy by 20 percent."

Claims of this type usually purport, but without any independent supporting or verifiable evidence or documentation provided, that the consumer is in for some dramatic gas-savings, ranging from 12 percent to 25 percent or more, for use of the gadget or product. However, the FTC points out that the U.S. federal government's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the principal agency of the Federal Government that conducts just about the most reliable and independent tests of this kind in the automobile industry, has evaluated or tested more than 100 alleged gas-saving devices, and has not found even one product that significantly improves gas mileage. In fact, says the Agency, its evaluation to date has found that some of those purported "gas-saving" products may even damage a car's engine or cause substantial increases in exhaust emissions. Hence, any advertising or sales talk by any company or marketer which claims that its product or devise dramatically improves fuel economy, especially in huge numbers, but without presentation of any independently verifiable evidence or documentation, should immediately set off a warning alarm bell in your head.

2. Has a credible, unbiased, independent testing agency or facility evaluated the product?

Here's another serious warning sign. Generally, if NO formal evaluation has yet been made on an advertised product or gadget by a respectable, credible public agency or independent organization, such as the EPA, the Consumer Reports, the Office of Energy Efficiency of Canada (OEE), or any among the better few independent testing laboratories around America or Canada or Europe, then that's a bad sign, and you better thread very carefully. So, look to see (or ask) whether the product has had an evaluation done by such an agency? And, if it has, find the physical text of the test and the rating results, and physically look yourself to see: what does the verified data actually and specifically say of the product's performance?

3. Claims such as "After installing your product on my car, I got an extra 4 miles [6.4 kilometers] per gallon [3.8 liters]."

Don't just take the word of the supposed "satisfied customers" or others - "testimonials" - in the ads or the infomercials you see. Rather, independently verify them on your own. Or, better still, seek other unbiased, unaffiliated independent expert opinions. Note that, in point of fact, yes, many ads feature glowing testimonials by satisfied customers. But the reality is that very few consumers actually have the ability, the patience, or the right equipment that it requires to be able to test for what, exactly, might have been the precise changes and cause in gas mileage that might have occurred (if any, at all) after a specific 'gas-saying saving product' shall have been installed in a vehicle.

For example, consider the fact that there are simply a lot many variables, and not just one, which affect fuel consumption, and which could, in fact, be the real factor that is responsible for the apparent fuel efficiency improvement or "fuel-savings" you might observe in a given situation - e.g., the traffic, the road and weather conditions, the car's mechanical condition, etc.

Here's one real illustration cited in one EPA report. In one ad for a "gas-saving" product, one consumer was portrayed to have sent a letter to the company that produced the product praising the product and saying that it worked in improving gas mileage. At the time that the product was installed, however, the consumer happened to have also given a complete engine tune-up to his car - a fact that was not mentioned in the advertisement. Yet, the perceived increase in gas mileage which had been completely attributed in the ad to the "gas-saving" product, may well have been the result of that tune-up job alone. But judging just overtly from the ad, other consumers could not have known that FACT at all. All they would have seen (or known) was the "testimonial" by the customer, probably innocently given, purporting that the product performed excellently!

4. Watch for the claim that "This gas-saving device is approved by the Federal government."

Get this FACT straight right now: No government agency whatsoever "approves" or endorses gas-saving gadgets or products for vehicles. The most that can be done by the EPA, which is all that can be accurately claimed by an advertiser, is that the EPA, upon testing that product or evaluating the product manufacturer's own test data on the product, reached certain conclusions about possible gas savings by that product. So, if the seller of a product ever tells you, or claims in an ad or otherwise, that its product has been "approved" or endorsed or recommended by the EPA, you can pretty much conclude outright that it is a lie and an apparent fraud. And, in fact, if he only tells you or claims that the product has been simply devaluated by the EPA, ask for a copy of the EPA report, or, go directly and check the EPA web site at: www.epa.gov for fuller information; verify to make sure as to what the EPA evaluation (if any) actually says. In fact, note that in some instances, false claims of EPA testing or approval have actually been made by some marketers.


To reach the Federal Trade Commission FOR THE CONSUMER: 1-877-FTC-HELP Web site: www.ftc.gov


About The Author: Shop Amazon - Top Gift Ideas
Benji O. Anosike, Ph.D., is an environmentalist and leader in the U.S."drive green" movement, and a best-selling author of over 24 books about self-help and cost-saving consumer techniques. His latest book, "Boost Your Auto Fuel Economy and Cut Your Gas Costs by At Least 50%, Guaranteed," exposes bogus fuel-saving remedies, and explores advanced automotive science that has been tested and proven to increase fuel economy and help motorists save money. For more on the author or his works, or to learn more about his latest book, please visit: http://www.GetAutoFuelSavings.Org

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