Even better than Mr Fusion

A reader, coincidentally also called Dan, just sent me this:

Holy CRAP! How did we miss this amazing revelation?

[I'll spare you the enormous forwarded e-mail Dan tacked onto his message, but it started with the words "Do You Want To Know RIGHT NOW How You Can Drive Around Using WATER as FUEL and Laugh At Rising Gas Costs, While Reducing Emissions and Preventing Global Warming?"]

P.S. I didn't even bother to read through the whole thing, my obviously limited knowledge of chemistry, thermodynamics, entropy etc. made me feel like I had been purposely misled by my professors to support the great Oil Companies' conspiracy.

The text you forwarded is from the Easy Water Car site, but it's been copied all over the Web.

These scams are old, old, old, though they've gained new life as oil prices rise.

They always include some bulldust about electrolysis or fuel cells, then usually something about "HHO" gas or "Brown's Gas" (supposedly a magical special combination of hydrogen and oxygen that can somehow give you more energy than you used cracking water to make it), and then you make some gadget that pumps its tiny gas output into your engine's fuel input, and it doesn't do a damn thing, and that's about it. Unless you decide to tinker with the thing until you die of old age, which seems to be the choice of many people who're enthusiastic about this stuff.

I've written about the "HHO" sorts of scams before, here. There's a bit more about car-on-water scams, in the similarly ancient "turning water into gasoline" variant, here.

The versions of the scam that try to run the whole car off an electrolysis gadget always fall at the first hurdle, of course. It's theoretically possible, but you might as well take the tons of electricity needed to make enough gas to run an engine and use it to drive an electric car directly. Anything that can run off a normal car's alternator will not, duh, run a normal car.

The "hybrid" versions of the scam, though - which, like the Easy Water Car version, claim to use the mystic hydrogen generator to greatly decrease the fuel consumption of a normal car - can run just about as well as an unmodified car, because that's basically what they are. So there are plenty of options for the creative scammer to make a demo machine that looks as if it's working. Any slightly experienced race-car mechanic could make a car look as if it's running on nothing in a hundred ways.

Despite that, many of the scammers put on a very poor show. One of the front-runners, who's been pulling stuff like this for many years, is Dennis Lee.

A lot of the current "water car" excitement also has to do with the "Joe Cell", a rich and abundant source of very high-energy pseudoscience.

3 Responses to “Even better than Mr Fusion”

  1. Daniel Rutter Says:

    I predict great entertainment from the Google ads this post will attract.

  2. EEK Says:

    It's a darn shame I'm going to miss every single of those ads. Huzzah for Adblock!

  3. xuth Says:

    I'm particularly fond of how the "Easy Water Car" site says that "Since 2005 the American IRS could not ignore alternative fuel anymore, and started giving considerable rewards for "green" cars, green fuels and green upgrades". There are soooo many things wrong with that sentence and how they (EWC) suggests claiming these deductions. But then they're good enough to remind you that "We cannot guarantee your tax returns because rules change by year and location", so there is a slight chance that you won't be able to claim this deduction.

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