4/5/2008

More on the acetone in gas thing
Filed under: Acetone & Gasoline,Pseudoscience,Shaky research,Stupidity,Technology — nobrainer @ 10:32 pm

I really haven’t been keeping up the acetone in gas thing which I have, in the past, written about in depth. I have kept up only to the point that I read the generally hilariously unhelpful comments and I also notice that those acetone pages are driving the vast majority of the revenue on the site. But I felt like it was a good time to comment on the comments.

First, let me say that I will gladly reverse course when someone provides verifiable, repeatable, (at least semi)-scientific evidence that says that acetone really does increase fuel mileage nearly as well and as broadly as claimed. So far, I have still yet to see anything resembling good evidence.

Second, some people ask whether acetone is really safe to put in your fuel system. Of the affirmative responses, the answer is usually: “acetone is a main ingredient of fuel system cleaners, so yes.” I have yet to verify that acetone is indeed a main ingredient in any common gasoline additive. But, if it is true, it has important implications. First, it is pretty much common knowledge that such additives are not capable of drastically increasing fuel mileage. Second, it undermines the argument that oil companies (who of course primarily make and market fuel additives) are afraid of acetone.

Finally, a comment about the vast oil conspiracy. I’ve argued before that if such a conspiracy exists, the powers-that-be are horribly inept; extreme oil company profits are not the norm; they are the exception. But, for the sake of argument, let’s assume that they aren’t woefully inept at managing their vast conspiracy. Let’s further say that they are in fact quite skilled at market manipulation and screwing the consumer. With those assumptions of their power in place, I simply cannot fathom why they would not desperately seek increase mileage while simultaneously controlling the oil market to increase prices at the same time. Why do I say this? It’s simple really. If they can completely manipulate the market, why would they not find a way to double mileage and use half the material sold at double the current price for double the profit per unit? They could get same amount of profit for half the work. And, and, and, they would then have even more saved up to sell in the future. In short, with acetone, they could maintain profits, do less work, and increase future income potential.

But who really knows with the acetone thing. Even though it is backed by only scant evidence, and thoroughly dubious logic, I remain open to the possibility that it works. I just wish that someone who says that it works would bother to satisfactorily prove that it works (whether or not the conspiracy theories make any sense).