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Additive gives improved mileage, less smog

11:01am, June 16, 2003

A chemical normally known for its role in the manufacture of synthetic rubber may lead to cleaner-burning, more-fuel-efficient cars and trucks.

Automobiles using the polymer additive, called polyisobutylene, decrease their emissions by 70 percent, says Paul F. Waters of American University in Washington, D.C. What's more, mileage goes up 20 percent, while horsepower increases 10 percent, he says.

Due to the emissions improvements and fuel savings, Waters says, polyisobutylene "reduces the number of gases that potentially lead to global warming."

Waters reported the results in late August at the 220th national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Washington, D.C.

Gasoline is a menagerie of hydrocarbon molecules that differ in size and shape. Short molecules generally burn very quickly

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