Introduction: Automotive Fuel Hack

Improve mileage 2-3 MPG, both diesel and gas, smoother running and quicker accelleration. This was not my idea, however I felt this was the forum to share it with.

Step 1:

Purchase 100% pure Acetone and add to full tank of gas or diesel at the ratio of 2oz. per 10gal. of fuel. Do not use cheap plastic container as a refill container as it will melt. I bought a Cutex nail polish remover bottle (4oz), ran the contents through and reused the container.

Step 2:

Results 1997 Ranger 172K 3.0L V6 @ 3.75 oz per fill up= Went from a measley 17mpg to 19.34mpg! Additionally the truck has smoother accelleration and spark knocking has all but vanished completely. As I understand it, the acetone acts as an agent to help disperse the gasoline in the combustion chamber increasing amount of fuel actually burned vs. sending unspent fuel into the atmosphere. Any simple search terms including "acetone as a fuel additive" will yield many hits, some with much comparo data broken down by manufacturer.
*added benefit to diesel guys: reduction in smoke!


darrenhall (author)2013-03-20

Quick question - how does this effect the life of the CAT if at all??

wi_saint (author)2007-03-06

The biggest help that I have ever seen is to use a high flow air filter such as te K&N; or similar. We went from 17 mpg to 26 in my wife's 1992 5th Ave. (I also removed all of the restrictive air-box and piping) I will try this suggestion to see if I can hit 30 mpg.

otiman (author)wi_saint2012-07-30

You can use no air filter for testing purposes when its rainning...

Shadetree Engineer (author)2007-10-08

Anyone care to donate a car to science? Just try it for a month and then look at what the damage is. I'm a bit disappointed with the car talk guys, they didn't think to say that the acetone should never be poured in straight, but should always be pre-mixed. Doesn't matter if it works or not, they should advise pre-mixing for the curious. Maybe they were too caught up in the corporate mind-set after that talk they had with the oil engineer. The evaporation problem should be addressed as a potential error factor. If the acetone is evaporating back out of your gas tank before any meaningful mileage is racked-up, then you can't say what effect it would have on your mileage. I have used acetone, and I know it's gone fast! It would be neat if someone were to come up with an automatic mixer. That is, to add the acetone on demand shortly before the intake valves. That way, a proper estimate can be made. Cool points if it's plc controlled and in-line just before a fuel-rail! It might be better to test this out on a constant load engine, such as a generator. That would allow spraying the acetone on demand, like in a nitrous set-up. I think a real expert would be one of the fuel wizards out there on the drag-strip. Those guys who make it a regular practice to shave tenths of a second by mixing their own gas ought to know if acetone is worth any further research.

Only works on cold weather OR pressurized gas tanks... take your pick!

Outlander (author)2008-06-06

This trick does work, it can save on fuel, but at the cost of hardware. I tried this in my suv and it seemed to work, instead of around 8mpg city, I got a bit more, and highway from around 15 to 20mpg. The problem was that after about 6 months of doing this, one morning I went out to start my car and it just cranked and cranked but did not fire. popped the hood, pulled the aircleaner and sure enough the TBI unit was dry as a bone. It could have been that the suv was about 13 years old at the time, but sure enough the fuel pump was dead. I didn't use this trick again and my suv is still running today. But after a $200.00 new fuel pump.

otiman (author)Outlander2012-07-30

Yes plastic parts in fuel pumps go the way of the DoDo with industrial solvents... maybe there are all metal OR solvent ready ones!? IDONOW

Derin (author)Outlander2008-06-29

the service ppl ripped you off with the pump while mine replaces a lot of stuff including fuel pump for $170

radiorental (author)2006-06-06

two super easy 'hacks' to increase fuel efficiency. Pump your tires to 1-2 psi over the suggested pressure (usually found on the drivers sill/door) and change your airfilter every 30K, or take it out a vac it clean if you're super cheeep.

StuNutt (author)radiorental2011-03-10

Increasing your tire pressure (within reason) will reduce the rolling resistence - thus improving your fuel efficiency. However, it does that by reducing the amount of tread that comes in contact with the road - the tire "bulges" more in the centre od its width - and increases the wear on the centre of te tread.

This means that the centre of the tread wears more quickly and you will need to replace tires more often - it's a trade-off - fuel or tires.

velojym (author)2008-01-30

One thing I haven't seen mentioned here: If a driver tries a new trick, with the hopes of it working well, he or she may (probably will) be a bit lighter on the ol' go-pedal, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy effect. The driver probably won't even realize he's doing it. A more scientific way of doing it is to have different drivers in identical cars, swapping vehicles several times. The drivers would have no idea which car has been treated (both will at different times, due to slight differences between vehicles, even from the same assembly line), and which is the control. A simple "I read about it, tried it, and it worked" sounds nice, but it's hardly conclusive.

fuelhacker (author)velojym2008-05-10

Years ago we had a water injection rig that mixed the fuel with small amounts of water, I didnt understand the properties of the mixture at the time but it extend the aircraft flight hours per tank of fuel which was a life saver for us. I have been following what I call a "fuel hack" off and on for the last 30 years or so. It looks like someone has figured it out eeefuel . com We here in the states are the last to know of course, the Asians and the people in Northern Europe have been using this technology for 10 years or more.

easy_rahil (author)fuelhacker2010-06-22

i m reading your comment on instructables. can you please elaborate your concept please?

Swishercutter (author)fuelhacker2009-04-09

There is a thing called Aquamist used on some Volvo's I guess. Mainly to prevent Predetonation in turbocharged cars, its been used for quite a while (intercooler replacement / supplement).

Also, if you want to see something even more interesting using water check out the 6-stroke diesel Absolutely brilliant.

stormende (author)Swishercutter2010-01-12

Injecting water into the combustion chambers wasn't meant to save gas but to reduce NOx and not only Volvo used this system. 

Artanis_Regnis (author)2010-01-29

Correct! It does work! My 1995 Dodge Caravan went from 18 mpg, to 22. Now that I "hyper mileage", I've added even more. Google hyper mileage. It's simply a driving technique that works.

ingesumadre (author)2009-07-24


stormende (author)ingesumadre2010-01-12

What the f... Hahaha Great nickname!


hellinabox (author)2009-08-22

Unless the chemical you choose to use as a substitute is non-reactive with plastic, you will destroy your fuel lines. I support your idea to find a substitute to fossil fuel but must make it clear that acetone will damage fuel delivery components. My suggestion is to check your vin number to see if your vehicle is flex fuel compatible and run E85.

qparker (author)hellinabox2009-10-18

I use acetone and was worried about it eating away at my fuel lines too,
 after a little research I found that thats why they only use 2 to 3 ounces to a gallon of gas or diesel fuel,
 if you only use a small amount of acetone you shouldn't have to worry about it eating away on your fuel lines
 this, like any other Instructable is for you to do at your own risk, so if you don't like the idea, or think it's dangerous DON'T DO IT, it's as simple as that

alwayschooseford (author)2007-12-27

I honestly don't know of any diesel guys that would actually want a reduction in smoke...

Derin (author)alwayschooseford2008-07-07

I do!I just HATE it when the trucks inject all their smoke in our window after the light goes green
we also drive a diesel car,a 2006 VW Transporter

Derin (author)Derin2008-09-06

thats why trucks have side pointing exhausts-to fill other cars with smoke

latemtech (author)Derin2009-06-30

har har

smoke mean more carbon deposits. it also waste fuel. if you are able to tune your engine to burn cleaner, you save more fuel.

tiber (author)2008-05-29


If it melts your plastic jug, it's going to melt the gaskets in your engine, your fuel lines, and your fuel injectors also.(which are sealed against the engine with cute little plastic boots).

Derin (author)tiber2008-06-29

a diesel additive used today also melts gaskets so they use melt resistant hoses

zootsuit7 (author)2007-09-14

I drive a Corolla. First I tested whether my seals, gaskets, and things would 'dissolve'. I tried to dissolve anything in pure acetone. Let soak for weeks. I tried every spare car part I had such as "fuel system seals & gaskets". All I have been able to dissolve with acetone is enamel paint, marker, and tape/label adhesive. I was unable to dissolve any fuel system parts even at full strength. I've been doing this for a year. I use a tank of gas a week delivering pizza. It works for me. I also mix in 2-3 oz. xylene -> 10 gallon tank. Saves ~ $17 month in gas. Every little bit helps.

Helmut118 (author)2007-08-16

Helmut118 Be careful! Fuel injector seals go away when you over do it with the you a whole new bunch of problems that sneak up on you with time. Same with gas line anti-freeze...tough on all fuel system seals.Trade one problem for another...nothing comes without cost From experience$$$

killerjackalope (author)2007-08-04

If you keep the alcohol amount below 20% your fuel lines will be fine also I tried this with a real junker and the engine was already on its last legs so I filed it half and half petrol and isopropyl alcohol... Engine blew up but it was fast till I think it started knocking and somehow the carb went on fire( I think that was unrelated to the alcohol) will run fine on a smaller percentage though

VIRON (author)2006-08-10

For gasoline, absolute alcohol or rubbing alcohol works. It also prevents any problems that may be caused by water in the gas tank. I don't know how much of the fuel can be alcohol but it's more than 10%. Is alcohol cheaper than petroleum anywhere?

servant74 (author)VIRON2007-07-08

One reason that alcohol makes any sens economically in the US, is the US govt making the fuel tax effectively 0% for alcohol used for fuel that are generated domestically. Foreign alcohol has the same tariff as the fuel tax when imported (I think it is about 54 cents per gallon US). At least that is what I have undersood from general reading.

lemonie (author)VIRON2007-02-27
Monomer (author)2006-10-23

Gasoline itself is classified as a solvent. Diesel Gas (commonly refered to as Diesel oil) is an oil. I run just about anything through my diesel. It LOVES atf fluid (commonly free from trans shops) but must be properly filtered before dumping to tank. As a matter a fact, Diesels will run on just about anything combustable. I could drain the oil from it (I do my own oil changes) and filter it, and dump it right in my tank. It's actually good for the injection pump. Proper care of Filters (both fuel and air) and stuff like O2 sensors (commonly forgotten about) will also increase MPG, as well as making the car run better.

lemonie (author)Monomer2007-02-27

A diesel may run fine for for a while on non-standard fuel, but fuel systems can suffer long term damage. It depends what you're putting in them and what fuel system you have... Used engine oil does not sound like a good idea (fine metal particles & soot) W/ref to comment 1st Feb, could you really filter engine oil to clarity? And the comment that it's actually good for the injection pump is false. Injection pumps are designed to be lubricated by clean diesel, that's what's good for them! L

srwoodruff (author)Monomer2007-02-01

what would you recommend as proper filtering techniques for what you mentioned? I'm very interested!

plumbhack (author)2006-06-05

To date I'm at 5 tanks worth of data. And I'd like to see the Mythbuster's episode...I rarely miss that show. Personal fav was the tailgate up or down camparo. I'm also thinking that my increase was due to having a higher mileage engine. The smoother running, noticeably quieter engine is also a nice benefit. But after reading the blurb about the fuel neck filler being eaten I think I'd better quit while I'm ahead. Thanks braddk.

DougPenhall (author)plumbhack2006-12-26

I'm going to be watching this episode of Mythbuster's the first chance I get. (Episode 53, exploding pants) Regarding the acetone peeling off your paint and disolving the fuel filler neck, my plan is to mix the acetone with gas in a small container so it's not straight acetone. Then dump that into my tank. Acetone evaporates very quickly (faster than gas) so if any drops are spilled on the way in, the dilution ratio will increase until all the acetone is gone before the gas evaporates. I haven't yet, but I will be trying the acetone myself.

trebuchet03 (author)plumbhack2006-06-06

Try here for the Mythbuster's Results... Episode 53 - "Exploding Pants" - Original airdate: May 10, 2006

mrbob1000 (author)2006-06-20

actually acetone will also disolve and/or weaken seals and gaskets because its so abrasive

keeblah (author)2006-06-07

yeah they actually sell fuel treatments that are basiccly pure acetone and dont do anything except clean out deposits. it will increase your mileage if you had bad buildups though but def dont use it all the time

wperry1 (author)2006-06-05

It seems more likely that the acetone acted as a solvent and removed some of the carbon build-up from valves or spark plugs much like the engine cleaner addatives that are on the market. It may help to run it through once in a while but I would think it could do some damage to seals or gaskets if used continuously.

naikrovek (author)2006-06-05

The mythbusters tried this and got nowhere. Busted.

plumbhack (author)2006-06-05

To date I'm at 5 tanks worth of data. And I'd like to see the Mythbuster's episode...I rarely miss that show. Personal fav was the tailgate up or down camparo. I'm also thinking that my increase was due to having a higher mileage engine. The smoother running, noticeably quieter engine is also a nice benefit. Oh, and thanks for the feedback!

braddk (author)2006-06-04

I'd look at the following link. It's from Car Talk.

trebuchet03 (author)braddk2006-06-04

The question now is... would the transcript writer know to put "boooogus" with 4 o's if he did not specifically say 'with 4 o's'? It just boggles the mind :P

jaredforshey (author)2006-06-04

For completeness, how did you get your mpg information? As in, how many trials did you run before computing your averages?

trebuchet03 (author)2006-06-04

Ditto Ironfu.... The problem really is that today's engines are near their max efficiency.... If you increase the operating temps, you should be able to squeeze a bit more out (depends if the temp increase is significant enough) -- but things will wear down faster :/

I'd also think that if there really REALLY was a significant increase in fuel economy... A petrol company would jump on that very fast. Could you imagine if exxon or BP could claim (and back up) that their fuel is guaranteed to increase your mileage? They obviously are not making this claim (probably because the FTC or similar agency would jump down their throats).

Yes, I have tried this... but I'm categorizing it as snake oil...

Ironfu (author)2006-06-04

I've seen this done on Mythbusters, and they found that it really doen't work. In fact I think they found it actually hurt the mileage more than it helped

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Bio: Overworked ex-surf rat (injuries...) that digs mods and hacks
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