Having enough money set aside each week to cover gasoline purchases has become more difficult for drivers across the United States. Before the economic downturn, gasoline prices had risen to almost $4.25 per gallon, and that was just for regular! Gasoline is more affordable now that the price at the pump has stabilized, but in my humble opinion we are still paying far too much for a gallon of gasoline.
In light of the high price we pay for a gallon of gasoline it is important to search for ways to conserve on our day to day fuel use. Many people who are looking into this topic will invariably find the Internet a valuable resource. However we should probably view some of the information with a slightly skeptical perspective.
If you are searching the Internet for help on conserving gasoline you will undoubtedly come across a few of the top fuel saving claims which have been floating around for years. First is a device which can convert water into hydrogen which in turn fuels the car more efficiently than simply burning gasoline. What these devices never seem to include in their data would be the added energy expended to make them operate. There is a lack of hard data that would support some of these claims. If this technology is truly effective, then why would major automotive manufacturers not be offering this potentially awesome technology.
Please do not misread my tone, as I do believe that there is some value in this technology, but working with these electrochemical cells, I can honestly say they have a good distance to go before this technology becomes a mainstream solution for improving fuel mileage in anything except diesel propelled vehicles. Another note is that the feedstock liquid required to make the electrochemical reaction occur properly can be problematic for the average user in terms of safety.
It takes quite a bit electricity to create sufficient electrolysis levels to occur in the liquid in this energized cylinder. It is unlikely that such a small cell could actually charge up the liquid sufficiently to react with the Hydrogen and Oxygen, breaking their bond and somehow magically delivering pure hydrogen and oxygen separately into your engine. One question I feel has never been clearly answered, and that simply is where does the oxygen go? There is no separation device in these cells which might be like a membrane between the electrodes which could permit the oxygen molecules to stay on one side while the hydrogen molecules go through. Therefore it must be burnt in the combustion chamber, which essentially results in a basic water injector that takes electricity to make it go.
In my bench testing of this particular process it would typically end up with a gassing off of the solution which in turn creates a very fine water vapor or mist which is drawn into your engine. This mist cools down the air and fuel mixture which could make it more-dense but at the same time the water does not really “burn” in the engines cylinders.
So you might end up paying quite a bit of money for a fuel savings kit which you never really get back in fuel savings. In my experience don’t waste your time or money on these and put the cash into other technologies which may help.
Another area where people claim you can do better is right at the pump. Some say it is better to fuel up in the early morning before it gets hot out as their theory states that the fuel is warmer so it vaporizes faster. To me this is a misleading idea since the fuel tanks are stored underground, and that temperature does not deviate much from around 55 degrees Fahrenheit, at least in northeast Ohio. If you feel the fuel nozzle tube as you fill your tank you will notice a significant difference in that temperature. There are vapor recovery systems to prevent excess vapors from filling our neighborhoods with that fresh fuel smell. Plus gas vapors are heavier than air so they naturally want to stay in the void space above the gasoline liquid.
Pumping the fuel faster may liberate a bit more fumes but it is such an insignificant volume. According to EPA estimates it would take you about 1000 gallons of fuel pumped into your car to lose between an eighth of a gallon to about a gallon of fuel. So if your fuel economy numbers are based on this loss then you have a problem with your car. More gas is spilled filling lawn and garden equipment than you could ever lose when putting it in your car. remember your car has a closed vapor system and gas fumes are heavier than air, and the only time some quantity of fumes are liberated is when you are filling the tank but the vapor recovery system at the pump keeps it out of the atmosphere. if you have the time it cannot hurt you to fill slower, but it does not make a huge difference in the amount of fuel lost per year.
To my way of thinking the tank half full tank half empty debate does not really matter unless you are going to miss the extra fraction of fuel pumped that are forced out of the tank into the vapor recovery system. Over time pumping great volumes of gasoline, they could recover perhaps as much as a gallon or two each week, but they operate on such low margins on gas that it this would be a tiny benefit that they receive.
There is one method I have been using which does seem to save me a bit at the pump, and that is taking advantage of the fuel rebate process offered at the big grocery chain stores. This perk may be minimal after you calculate the cost of goods at the store, but if you are savvy about pricing, you could end up saving at least 3% on fuel purchases. The real bottom line to improve my fuel economy is to drive the speed limit, fill my tires to proper pressure, maintain the running gear, keeping brakes in good working order, and by keeping the engine oil fresh.
Finally, I have found that simply combining trips, plus riding with others who are going the same place, and staying home, have contributed more to my annual fuel cost savings than anything else in the world.
Personal experience making anodes and cathodes for HHO electrochemical cells.