Acetone Vs Other Fuel Additives – Existing Technologies to Reduce Specific Toxicants & Increase MPG

A lot of articles on the net, in particular the Peswiki articles explain the virtues of using Acetone as a fuel additive.

Overall, there are arguments for and against its use as an additive to both gas or diesel. The doping formula most recommended is 2 oz. per 10 gallons, that appear to result in these benefits

1. Slight increases in horsepower or performance.

2. Increases in MPG

3. Cleaning injectors and lower engine parts without affecting lubricity.

4. More stable idling and less “dieseling”.

5. And Quicker startups.

Most of these results were with older engines, and rightfully so. Usually a new car/pickup/truck/motorcycle, construction equipment will not be appreciably helped with any gas/fuel additive.

It is interesting to note that one sentence in the Peswiki article was crossed out. I have copy-pasted it here: No one has yet reported damage to their engine from acetone being added to the fuel. Interesting, wouldn’t you think? It implies that there are now reports that damage has occurred to engines as a result of Acetone being added to fuel.

Among the counter-productive results, there appears to be just as many who have had bad luck with Acetone. For example:

1. Some decreases in horsepower or performance.

2. An actual decrease in MPG

3. Although cleaning of injectors and lower engine parts, quite a few have reported injector damage, and resulting low idle speed fluctuations. And, if your State/County requires Vehicle Emissions Testing as a prerequisite to annual tabbing, this is one of the two major tests. Low idle speed fluctuations are fairly expensive to correct. As such, usually a testing exemption is applied for, and if granted, more visible exhaust and toxic emissions result. If not granted, just the parts, much less the labor is exorbitant. Sometimes the value of this repair on an older car is worth more than the vehicle

4. There is no organized or scientific approach studies that suggest Acetone either reduced or added to air quality (or carbon footprint). Indeed, the cautions include “Acetone is a poisonous substance with dangerous vapors, similar to gasoline.”

5. Further warnings include: “Keep acetone away from painted surfaces. It is the key ingredient in paint remover. Manufacturers, of course do not have nor will they extend to you any warranties as to what damage may be done to your engine, or the paint job of your vehicle should you spill. They do not carry any liability, and rightfully so, if you use Acetone for other than its intended purpose.

6. Further searches for information on Acetone as an effective fuel additive do not reveal whether it is an emulsifier-separating moisture from the fuel.

7. Acetone does not work harmoniously with gasolines or fuels that contain alcohol or alcohol byproducts. By the way, most gasolines do contain a percentage of ethanol.

8. Acetone does not contain Algaecides, particularly for diesel fuel integrity.

9. If your vehicle is under warranty, Acetone is not an EPA registered product under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act for use as a fuel additive. Therefore its use as a fuel additive will void your warranty. Indeed, it would appear that selling or buying Acetone as a fuel additive is a legal no-no.

10. It is doubtful that Acetone is classified as a biodegradable substance.

11. When added to diesel fuels, there is no evidence that Acetone boosts Cetane points, thereby improving ignition quality and reliability.

Overall, when the anecdotal evidence of Acetone are considered, it appears that the jury is split about 50-50.

Other than regular maintenance, and the advent of catalytic oxidation (converters) the real challenge is that, over the past 15 or so years, there has been NO existing technologies that effectively or significantly, reduce specific toxicants, e.g., that our autos are tested for at a Vehicle Emissions Testing Site. And given present infrastructure, the “closest” alternative fuels that would come closer to the objectives of:

1. cleaner air and climate control

2. improved or increased gas and diesel mileage

3. improved performance and increased horsepower

————–appears to be Natural Gas (NG), although this alternative fuel, along with fuels from corns and wheats have their own distribution channels to work out. Hydrogen appears to be a perfect fuel source, although it is not a naturally occurring gas, and the technology is expensive-any commercially, as opposed to homemade devices, do not appear to be forthcoming in the near future.

So, from a technical viewpoint, what should present science look like? First, it should be practical and easy to apply. It should be able to take advantage of present infrastructure and distribution methods. It should be available, NOW. And least, it should be very affordable. Notwithstanding these attributes, the technology would fail-simply due to human nature.

A fuel additive should have these features and benefits or look something like the following:

· EPA registered, a fuel-additive product that should be patented to improve fuel economy, and not to remove paint.

· California CARB approved

· MSDS listed.

· Works with Gasoline or Diesel engines.

· Reduce visible exhaust and toxic exhaust emissions (VOCs), carbon monoxide (CO) and oxides of nitrogen (NO )-by at least 30%

· Lubrication properties that provide “top oil’ lubricity (and not just “without affecting lubricity”, which leads the Acetone claims as a little bit lame. Also see the above crossed out claim) protecting vital engine parts.

· Increase horsepower

· Cetane boosts of 8 points to improve ignition quality and reliability.

· Reduce carbon and EGR soot buildup.

· Emulsifiers to separate moisture from fuel.

· Algaecides to maintain fuel integrity

· Detergents that clean fuel injectors, pumps and fuel systems without damaging them.

· Fuel stabilizers reducing contamination and improve oxidation and thermal stability

· Lower fuel surface tension affecting more complete fuel burn.

· Comprising ingredients environmentally safe-biodegradable petrochemicals

· Guaranteed with a $1,000,000 liability in case of harm to engine parts, fuel lines, storage or fuel tanks.

· Will not, because of EPA testing, and registration, void engine manufacturer’s warranties (see Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act US Code – Title 15, Chapter 50, Sections 2301-2312)

· Works in all engines, gas or diesel, without modification.

· Does not contain alcohol, methanol, isopropyl, MBTE, sulfur or metals.

· EPA, SAE and Field Tested for over 7 years and approximately 400,000,000 miles.

· Will not harm your paint if you spill it while adding to your fuel.

· OH, and it should be about as inexpensive, if not less expensive than the same quantity of Acetone.

With the following specifications:


IBP………………………………………………315-610 Deg F

Vapor Pressure………………………….(mm Hg.) 0.18

PourPoint/ Gel Inhibitor……………to -20 Deg F

Flash Point…………………………………105 Deg F

Derived Cetane…………………………8 points

DOT…………………………………………..Hazard Class 3, Packing II (e.g.,) no storing or transporting prohibitions

And I might add that the manufacturer should put their money where their mouth is. Acetone cannot not do this as a fuel additive. There is also no protection under the Magnuson-Moss Act. However, there are some fuel additive providers that give a 100% “unconditional” money back guarantee if the product does not live up to expectations, and most have liability (some up to $1,000,000 for each claim) coverage that is substantial. You also have the protection of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act US Code – Title 15, Chapter 50, Sections 2301-2312)

As a former owner of a small trucking company, and a family of many children that drives a lot of miles-I did not at first know all of this. But it became fairly important to me.

I realized that in experimenting with products with these attributes I experienced a $12,000 improvement to my bottom-line, with one 18 wheeler, and an almost $21,000 improvement in my older Peterbilt. And, these results were attained without changing my driving habits. Significant to say the least. In trucking, fuel costs are second only to personnel and benefits costs.

Each of the older cars that my family drives (I don’t exactly believe in buying new cars) there was an average of a little over a net $620 per year in fuel savings averaged in 5 cars. Three of the 5 cars we gave up after more than 250,000 miles (another benefit that I believe a good fuel additive should contribute to). We are still exceeding exhaust emissions standards by about 30% at the lowest and 50% at the most, as measured by our Vehicle Emissions Testing for our county.