With gas prices skyrocketing and 65 payments left on the Escalade, America is looking for ways to cut back. In these desperate times we'll do whatever is necessary, as long as it doesn't involve driving less.
Fortunately there are a number of fuel-saving alternatives that are easy, inexpensive and completely idiotic. Such as ...
Intake Twister & Tornado Fuel Saver
There are countless variations of these devices on the market, but they all come down to hunks of metal with blades that supposedly break up the air and swirl it around on its way into the engine. According to the ads, they're a precisely-engineered piece of futuristic alien technology designed to rock your world. According to Popular Mechanics, they're "something we could make in about 10 minutes from an old soda can."
The vanes on this thing whip the air into a little mini-tornado. This is somehow supposed to mix up the fuel more thoroughly with the air so you get a better burn. Apparently all the moron car designers at these multi-billion dollar companies were too stupid to figure this out, so these guys had to make this product for all of us to enjoy the power of the tornado!
Depending on which one you use, you'll get either nothing or a 20 percent decrease in your fuel efficiency. Of course, there is something to the whole swirling air and fuel thing. That's why engines are already designed to take advantage of it, and have been for decades.
Draft Assisted Forced Stop
This technique is advocated by a group of folks who like to refer to themselves as "Hypermilers," in the timeless tradition of giving super awesome names to things that don't deserve it. Basically it's just a lot of ways to squeeze as much as you can out of a tank of gas with a lot of coasting and other conservative driving techniques. Doesn't sound so bad, right?
All it takes on your part is a commitment to find a nice big tractor trailer. Then you are advised to settle in behind that trailer. Like spooning, only at 65 miles an hour, with a huge truck. This white knuckle maneuver is supposed to let you draft behind the truck, thereby letting it do the aerodynamic work for you.
The mileage gain is probably offset by the corresponding decrease in your lifespan. If you aren't worried about the fact you won't be able to see what's happening down the road while hugging the ass of a 40,000 pound trailer, consider what happens when you turn off your engine.
It turns out your engine is responsible for more than just spinning your wheels and burning gas. In most cars it also provides power to small things like your steering and brakes. However, even if things go horribly wrong, which is a pretty good bet when you are tailgating a truck in the equivalent of Fred Flintstone's car at highway speeds, you can at least know you will continue to save gas. We're not scientists but we figure [wrecked] cars probably don't use any gas at all.