Fuel additives are used in addition to the petrol or diesel you would normally use to run your vehicle on and are defined as…
“Any liquid that is added into the fuel supply of vehicles either via the filler cap or other parts of the fuel system is classed as a fuel additive.” (Fuel Duty, Business Link 2011)
They can either be bought separately or incorporated into the fuel at the pumps. Supplementing your fuel with additives is designed to give you better performance over standard petrol or diesel, however there is much speculation over the effectiveness of these products.
What do fuel additives claim to do?
The variety of fuel supplements on the market today are all boasting to be able to increase your acceleration and engine performance, restore lost horsepower as well as reducing your petrol consumption from prices ranging from £5 to over £20.
A common benefit cited amongst most of these products is their ability to fend off grime and other deposits which, over the life of your vehicle can build up causing problems and reduced efficiency and performance.
Types of fuel additives
Over the counter fuel supplements will vary a lot in what they claim to offer you, so if your planning to give them a go it’s important to know what you are looking for so you get the results you are actually after.
Most fuel additives will fall into one of three categories. Those that will help to maintain the current condition of your car, those that will improve efficiency, saving you money on fuel and those that are used to enhance performance.
So… Do fuel additives actually work or not?
The short answer to this question, according to a recent study is unfortunately not. Shockingly the addition of these supplements into your tank after topping up was found to actually decrease the performance of a car running without it by about 2%.
It has been suggested that these products may make improvements to a more performance oriented engine and that the additives found in petrol and diesel do have some benefit. However they are generally thought to, at best, make no difference to the performance of your vehicle.