Don't be fuelish

A gas pump in Berkeley, Calif.

TEXT OF STORY

Tess Vigeland: So the Kaiser Family Foundation surveyed 2,000 Americans about their economic worries. Guess what tops the list: Yup, gas prices.

Presidential candidates John McCain and Hillary Clinton back the idea of a summer holiday for federal gas taxes. Barack Obama -- and many economists -- say that'll only save about 30 bucks total per driver.

And then there are all those Internet and TV ads promising that this or that doohickey will help rev up your fuel economy.

Philip Reed: There's an incredible surge in popularity any time gas prices go up. We see the "invention" of new devices that are guaranteed to boost your fuel economy.

That's Philip Reed, senior consumer advice editor at Edmunds.com. He says most of these things are just... fuelishness.

One group of products involves stuff you're supposed to pour into the tank.

Reed: It's usually some sort of fluid in a mysterious-looking vial and it's supposed to unlock some sort of molecular structure inside your gasoline.

Fuelishness.

Another category is attachments around your gas tank, like magical magnets that supposedly alter the chemical makeup of the gas before it goes into the combustion chamber.

Reed: Another is there's quite a few that have to do with swirling the air as it goes into the intake manifold and then there are pills, solid pills that you put in your gas tank, so there's quite a few of them.

Utter fuelishness.

Experts have tested all of these products and found that some of them made the gas mileage worse. Such fuelishness.

So what can you do to get more out of your tank?

Reed: If you go from being an aggressive driver, which almost everybody is these days, to being what we call a smooth and relaxed driver, you can see at least a 30 percent increase in your fuel economy right away and that's without changing anything on your car, only changing what you do with your right foot.

There you have it, people. When it comes to saving on gas money, just chill.

That means you, Boston...

About the author

Tess Vigeland is the host of Marketplace Money, where she takes a deep dive into why we do what we do with our money.

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