Oil Additives and Fuel Economy: Separating Fact from Fiction

Fuel economy and environmental concerns as far as emissions and the environmental impact your car has are major concerns for not just car owners, but even car manufacturers as these problems continue to dominate headlines due to continually rising gasoline prices.

But can oil additives actually help with any of this? These additives have been around for a long time and they can definitely help with keeping your car’s engine well lubricated, but what are the effects as far as fuel consumption and emissions? Read on to see what oil additives can do to help you save money and the world by reducing emissions.

The Claim: Oil Additives Can Improve Fuel Economy

Some of the best-selling products including Royal Purple, AMSOIL, and Liqui Moly have made claims that oil additives can help you save money at the pump and reduce your car’s emissions and negative environmental impact.

These companies manufacture quite a few different types of additives focused on these problems including additives that contain detergents, polymers, and dispersants which work together to break down deposits in the engine to increase its efficiency, and in some cases can increase horsepower.

The Evidence: What Does the Research Say?

There has been some research into how well oil additives work for improving fuel economy both in laboratory settings and using vehicles in real-world settings. The problem is that scientific research with conclusive evidence either way is still lacking and much more research needs to be done in their area.

And although some small studies did find promising results, a few others found the positives were slight and possibly not worth the additional investment. But none of the research was conclusive and more research needs to happen both in real-world scenarios and in the laboratory.

The Reality: Separating Fact from Fiction

Separating fact from fiction when it comes to oil additives and fuel economy and their role in improving fuel economy can be quite difficult. Often product manufacturers exaggerate their claims on just how efficient their products are and knowing if their claims are backed by any scientific research or simply marketing hype can be difficult to know for sure.

Then there are the potential risks of using any additive when they’re not used correctly. And simply making sure you keep up with regular maintenance schedules and be sure to do regular oil changes is enough to keep your car in top working condition so additives aren’t even necessary.

But of course, this all comes down to how you personally feel and if you want to take on the extra costs associated with oil additives. For some, it is worth every penny, for others a complete waste. It’s really up to you.


In a perfect world, we would have documented non-partial scientific evidence to prove whether oil additives are really worth investing in beyond a shadow of a doubt, but in reality, we are not there yet. Some studies to show there are enough positive reasons to use additives, yet others claim that oil additives aren’t that important for a well-maintained car. The ‘research’ is still far from being conclusive either way.

For now, one thing is clear, doing regular oil changes with the highest quality oil you can afford, and routine maintenance for a total car care program are still some of the best ways of ensuring your car runs smoothly and gets the best gas mileage it possibly can.


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