Popping pills to save fuel? Do these ‘fuel pills’ really do that or is it something made up?

With the news that the price of all fuel grades has once again gone up to record levels, motorists are paying more at the pump and running out of ways to save at the pumps every month constructively.

One of these means is by adding a ‘fuel pill’ to the petrol tanks of their vehicles that apparently decreases fuel consumption – but is that really the case? According to Eugene Herbert, CEO of MasterDrive, the pill is not as efficient and effective as people make it out to be and can be detrimental to your vehicle.

“The pills contain a substance called naphthalene which can marginally reduce consumption and emissions in certain circumstances but also causes a build-up of carbon deposits that later result in poor performance. The International Organisation for Standardisation, which sets the global standards for fuel, states that it is not recommended to be added to fuel tanks as it causes deposits to build up on spark plugs after as little as 5 000km, resulting in misfiring engines and bad acceleration.”

To pill or not to pill

There’s even a TikTok video that went viral of a female driver at the petrol station putting the pill inside her own car’s fuel tank. Basically, the tagline is “Use at your own risk.” because the likes of Sasol and Western Cape Government aren’t convinced about the use of these pills in anyone’s vehicles. A quick online browse shows a number of fuel pills available, with the B ECO brand costing R450 for five tablets.

Speaking to a fellow motorist Rodney Fisher, he says he would rather just pay for the fuel (however expensive it is) instead of a possible engine overhaul down the line likely caused by the pill’s effects.

The talk of the pill comes at a time when desperate times call for desperate measures, and some people will likely try anything to cut costs, even with the potential mechanical risks involved. There’s no definite answer about when the price of fuel will decrease in the future, so the best everyone can do right now is ride the wave and bite the bullet.

Now that you’ve got the knowledge, it’s time to shop! Head to gumtree.co.za or your Gumtree app (click for Apple & Android), and don’t forget to use your location settings to find local automotive vehicle information close to home.

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