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Charging up fuel injection

A new device uses an electric field to increase cars’ gas mileage

By
4:24pm, October 3, 2008
A little voltage can jolt existing cars into getting better gas mileage, new research shows.

Applying a strong electric field to fuel a moment before it’s injected into the engine’s cylinders boosted fuel efficiency of a Mercedes-Benz 300D from 32 to 38 miles per gallon during six months of road tests — an increase of more than 18 percent, scientists report in the Nov. 19 Energy & Fuels.

Other researchers say that the increase in fuel efficiency would probably be smaller in real-world scenarios, but they agree that the technology could raise a car’s gas mileage by 5 to 10 percent. If applied to all the cars and trucks in the United States, that fuel savings would add up to more than 300 million barrels of gasoline and about 150 million barrels of diesel per year.

The new technique works by making the fuel about 10 percent thinner — more like water and less like molasses — so that the liquid break

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