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Reader Question: Does Acetone Increase Fuel Mileage Economy?

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Carma writes: Did you publish an article on using acetone and ketone in your tank to increase mileage for cars? If you did would you please reissue it? As I recall it was said to use 4 ounces per tank.

Hi Carma,

Thanks for writing. Well, with the research we've done so far it seems like the benefits are minuscule to none. Acetone is actually in the ketone family. The basic idea behind adding acetone to gasoline is to increase its vaporization rate. On older carbureted vehicles, this may have had some benefit, but on new computer controlled, port fuel injection, tightly-controlled emissions systems, the vaporization rate already approaches 100 percent (somewhere around 95 to 98 percent). Even if the acetone could increase vaporization by, at the most 1 or 2 percent, it would be difficult to notice the results in calculated fuel economy increases since it is such a small ratio.

We know that many people claim upwards of 15 percent fuel economy gains--while that may be true, it is most likely the result of the acetone, which is a highly effective solvent that cleans the fuel system and injector from many miles of deposits (after all, it is the stuff they use in nail polish remover), thus allowing for a like-new fuel delivery spray pattern from the injectors. Bear in mind that testimonials from other users can't be construed as accurate results, after all they're not based on scientific testing (that's why they do scientific blind tests—to eliminate the psychological factors: ie. folks tend to see the results they want to see versus the actual return data). So many variables can affect how fuel mileage plays out in daily driving situations (road conditions, vehicle state of tune, etc.).

Really, the only way for you to know is to try it for yourself and see. You asked if 4 oz. is the right amount. We'd say 4 oz. to approximately a 20-gallon fuel tank would be about right. Acetone does have a high octane rating, which is one of the claims that folks make as to why it increases fuel economy, but diluted at the ratio of 4 oz. to 20 gallons, it's almost negligible. If you do try it, please write back—we would love to hear about your results.

Please let us know if you have any more questions, and thanks for writing.

Best regards,
Christine & Scott

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