"Gasaver" == fuel savings?

My mother told me tonight of a fried of hers who wants to get several people together to buy several “Gasavers” (and therefore get a discount). The Gasaver is a device that sits on some vacuum line in the engine and releases minute amounts of platinum to supposedly make the fuel burn more completely. It’s advertised to last 30,000 miles, at which point the platinum runs out and it needs to be replaced.

I’m aware that the catalytic converter uses platinum as a catalyst to more completely burn the fuel, and reduce carbon monoxide emissions. But the idea of injecting small amounts of platinum into the fuel set off my BS detectors big-time. First, platinum is incredibly expensive, so it would have to have a small amount, and it’s spread over more than 1000 gallons of gasoline. It seems that a catalytic converter works because there is a large surface area of platinum for the CO to come into contact with, giving each molecule of CO an opportunity to crack heads with a platinum atom. But a tiny amount in the fuel doesn’t seem like it could do this.

Is anyone aware of any objective data on the device? You can read about it at http://nationalfuelsaver.com , which has several references, but one wonders how real they are.

Platinum is $500/troy oz. That seems like a hefty price to pay (besides the price for the device itself) for better fuel economy.

From their site:

Considering that platinum vaporizes at 3827 degrees, my WAG is that a car engine is a few thousand degrees too cool to do the job (yes, that was sarcasm in action.) Besides, even if they were able to get the thing to put vaporized platinum into the air/fuel mix, wouldn’t it gum up the O2 sensor?

cornflakes wrote:

I wouldn’t rule it out on that basis. The site does describe how there is a liquid with platinum in it, which bubbles up, causing the platinum to be released along with tiny droplets of solution.

But then again, how do you get platinum atoms in solution? Something that vaporizes at 3827 C doesn’t seem like it would be that easy to get into solution. Maybe it’s a platinum salt? Would a platinum salt still have the catalyst properties of the metal?

There were several other things about this that caused my alarms to go off. The mention of a conspiracy of oil companies to bury the invention. The fact that manufacturers don’t put them on all their cars.

And the testimonials from city government officials. This reminds me of that device that was being sold to police departments to help find buried victims of building collapses. That seemed to work like dowsing rods.

It doesn’t work–there was an article about it in my local newspaper a few days ago. You can try to look it up at http://www.news-journal.com

This is another reccuring car gas saver hoax, like magnets on the fuel line, ozone injection, the cheaper “Palladium Gas Saver”, the “Econo-Mizer”, etc.

These things don’t work. It’s that simple.

What’s amazing to me are the people who will buy these things to throw on their cars to try and save gas (which doesn’t work), and yet in my experience these are the same people driving around with underinflated tires and poorly tuned engines. Which, if corrected, is proven to save gas.

Oh, and the thing so many police departments and schools bought to find “Drugs, guns, money, explosives, bodies, etc”? It was called the “Quadro Tracker” - basically an empty box with an antenna. Several school districts AND police depertments here bought them, and all claimed they worked, even after being shown they were holding an empty box.

Pretty scary when the TV interviews a Shawnee Mission District HS principal with a PhD who says he read the literature and could “see how it works”, and when the Lenexa PD says they used this device to search for contraband in peoples cars. Actually, that’s somewhat more than scary.

Quoth CurtC:

Not likely. Platinum is darn near to being the most noble of the metals… Only irridium is less reactive. I suppose you could force fluorine to bond to it, but that would be very expensive and very dangerous (notice you never got to work with fluorine gas in high school chem?), and the salt thus produced would be extremely unstable, as fluorine would rather bond with just about anything else, and platinum would rather bond with absolutely nothing. Unless the rest of the device is made of irridium (yeah, right), it’d be reduced to pure platinum again by the time it reached the consumer.

This gadget was being peddled around the Boston MA area in the late 1970’s! I knew a few people who bought one…as expected, they were worthless.
Periodically, the government tests all of these items, and finds them to be worthless-I guess human gullibility knows no bounds!
Curiously, there is one such device that appears to work - water injection. This was used in WWII fighter planes, and would enable a pilot to get an extra 20% power out of his engine for a short period. I read years ago about a guy who adapted this system to his car-he was able to raise the compression ratio of the engine to 12:1, so he got more HP for the same amount of gas. However, water injection can shorten the life of the engine drastically, which is why Detroit doesn’t offer it.

from http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/autos/gasave.htm -

Platinum in solution is possible. I vaguely remember an old “Amateur Scientist” column in Scientific American for which you had to obtain a small amount of chloroplatinic acid. Of course, that particular form probably wouldn’t be good for the engine even if it actually conserved gas.