This fuel pill for sure, Rocky!

I'll try to keep this brief.

A reader has brought the melodiously-titled "Shot In The Gas" to my attention.

Shot In The Gas sell fuel additives - pills, and a liquid - which are, for the usual highly implausible reasons, supposed to improve fuel economy, reduce emissions, et cetera.

And, also as usual, these additives are supposed to work in both petrol and diesel engines, despite the large difference in operational principles.

Shot In The Gas's "Test Reports" page tells us that a truck achieved a massive 56% fuel-economy improvement when its fuel was treated with their liquid additive.

They say the truck was driven by a man called Brian.

And that's about all they say, as far as information about how well the test was controlled goes.

(There is, of course, also a page of testimonials. I don't see why they didn't put all of those on the Test Reports page, since they're all equally untraceable, and equally don't even pretend to be a properly controlled test.)

Apparently Shot In The Gas's products "have been tested for millions of driven miles" (emphasis theirs). But, as usual, nobody has at any point done any proper independent rolling-road, or even ad-hoc blinded, tests.

Such tests could unlock literally billions of dollars a year of income for whichever of the dozens, if not hundreds, of these miracle-fuel-additive companies actually turns out to be telling the truth.

But none of them ever do the tests.

The USA alone consumes about 380 million gallons of gasoline per day. That adds up to about a billion US dollars per day, even at the USA's low petrol prices, a bit more than $US2.50 per gallon at the moment.

If some miracle fuel additive reduced this consumption by a mere ten per cent, it'd be saving about a hundred million dollars a day, or around thirty-five billion US dollars per year.

(And this is just in the USA, and just gasoline. World petrol plus diesel consumption is of course quite a lot higher.)

But wait - Shot In The Gas have an explanation!

"This is not new technology. It has been around for 30 to 40 years". But "it wasn't cost effective to use the product until gasoline reached $2.00 a gallon".

Oooh, nice dodge!

Except... petrol has cost more than $US2 a gallon in most of the civilised world for, oh, a decade or three, right? I think petrol prices in the UK have, if you correct for inflation, never been below two US dollars per gallon. They've definitely almost never been below two inflation-adjusted UK pounds per gallon (PDF).

So even if Shot In The Gas hadn't been around to make a mountain of money in Europe for the last "30 to 40 years", one would presume someone would have.



20 Responses to “This fuel pill for sure, Rocky!”

  1. rbluff Says:

    Don't be a pussy. This guy seems legit.

  2. corinoco Says:

    I noticed on the ABC-7.30pm-Sunday slot two weeks ago that Albatrosses regurgitate a goo for their young that has a higher calorific content than petrol.

    Surely an additive like this would be a great fuel additive, the trick is getting the Albatross to regurgitate into your fuel tank.

    I can't wait to see cars with DOHA! (Double-OverHead-Albatrosses)

    Note: I'm being very silly, and I doubt the calorific content of Albatross vomit is actually higher than petrol - you'd get exploding Albatrosses if you shot them with anything more powerful than, say, a crossbow.

    Note 2: I thought "albatross vomit" might be a good googlewhack, but it isn't. How about that.

  3. unfunk Says:

    that DOHA engine technology sounds like it has the potential to make a mess of your car though.

  4. phrantic Says:


    Has anyone actually TRIED shooting an albatross with a crossbow, or any projectile weapon of greater power?

    You never know...

  5. Bern Says:

    Well, considering what was said to have happened to the last guy who shot an albatross with a crossbow...

  6. shmahoo Says:

    I thought the best thing to shoot an albatross with was a well directed 3 wood

  7. TwoHedWlf Says:

    Hmmm, Gasoline has an energy content of about 10,600 calories per kilogram. Sugar has 3900. Pure animal fat is about 9,000. I haven't been able to find anything edible with a higher energy content...So I guess it's good that gasoline isn't tasty.

  8. rndmnmbr Says:

    That $2.50 USD per gallon sure doesn't seem like a low price.

    However, I'm curious: does anyone living in a country with high gasoline/diesel prices drive as much as we do here in America?

    In a week's worth of driving, I drive around 300 miles (480 km) not counting any optional driving like grocery shopping (60 mile round trip) and spend around $45/week at the pump. And my driving habits are small change compared to my housemate, who drives ~650 miles (1040 km) a week just commuting back and forth to work.

    Would these be considered exceptional distances in Australia, or continental Europe?

  9. TwoHedWlf Says:

    No, those wouldn't be exceptional distances here in NZ. More than average maybe, but not exceptional. Around here though, on average, we drive much more fuel efficient cars. Few people commuting 50 miles/day in an F-150 getting 12 MPG.

  10. TwoHedWlf Says:

    Oh and at the moment it's about $4.70 US/gallon. It's been going up a little recently.

  11. Daniel Rutter Says:

    A cheap Australian petrol price right now would, unless I've slipped a digit, work out at about four US dollars per gallon. If it weren't for the USA, Australia/NZ would have about the cheapest gasoline in the world, if you don't count countries that're run by kings whose primary leisure activity is falconry.

    Look at the UK, for comparison; they're up around seven US dollars per US gallon at the moment (this is one reason why tiny diesels are so popular there).

    Few people commuting 50 miles/day in an F-150 getting 12 MPG.

    Australia does still have a lot of big V8s, though. I bet we'd have a lot more giant pickup trucks (in addition to, or taking the place of, our great Aussie utes) if we had the same sort of taxation setup as the USA. In the States, giant pickups and SUVs are exempted from the gas-guzzler tax, apparently on the grounds that Range Rovers and Dodge Ram SRT-10s are commercial vehicles.

  12. wiregeek Says:

    My father's F-150 gets an estimated 22 mpg running empty, at 96.56km/h, and then proceeds to get est 9 mpg at 100km/h and above.

    I spend my commute (125 miles per day, again, approximate) in a 2005 Chevy Van, getting around 19 to the gallon, so long as it's clean (14 to the gallon when it's dirty!)

    I recently made a 'short trip' using a friend's 2008 Chevy Cobalt, which returned a depressing 18mpg at 136km/h from its gutless 2.0l 4-banger

    As a point of reference, my truck, a 2004 Chevy pickup with the 5.3l v8 and the auto transmission, returns that same 18mpg at 115km/h

    So, at least here in Alaska, the fuel economy isn't as bad as the above commenter would have one think, but it's still pretty poor.

  13. corinoco Says:

    My old Datsun Sunny (1980) was the greenest car you could get. Apart from actually being a pleasant metallic-green colour, whenever I went to a petrol station I only had to check the petrol and fill up the oil! The km/L petrol was pretty good, but the km/L oil wasn't quite as good. The entire engine was sort of a giant oil filter until it warmed up a bit.

    Seriously though, it is still running, now owned by someone down near Mittagong. I believe in the theory that the longer the life-time of a product the more efficient it becomes, on the basis that you aren't making a new car, which uses way more carbon/energy than running an old one, inefficient as it may be. My dear old Datty also lacked the 300kg or so of nickel & cadmium that electric cars are required to drag around.

    MPG of a car only seems to count after the car has been bought, I wonder what the 'gallon' value is for a car that has done 0km? ie. just after it has rolled off the assembly line, including the energy costs for mining, refining, petrochem for plastics, really nasty petrochem for electronics production etc. I'm guessing it adds up to a bit more than the cost of the car.

  14. TwoHedWlf Says:

    Hmmm, Gasoline has an energy content of about 10,600 calories per kilogram. Sugar has 3900. Pure animal fat is about 9,000. I haven't been able to find anything edible with a higher energy content...So I guess it's good that gasoline isn't tasty.

  15. TwoHedWlf Says:

    Wiregeek, Alaska is WORSE than the rest of the country for people commuting in giant trucks. At least it was when I left, I doubt it's changed much. All kinds of people "I have to have a big truck in case it snows." Of course they're the first one in the ditches when we got a light dusting.

  16. FuzzyPlushroom Says:

    TwoHedWlf: Yeah, here in NH there's a fair number of big-truck types because we get snow for four months a year.

    Big deal. I drive a Volvo 240 - rear-wheel-drive, open differential. I only get stuck when I'm driving like a total knob-end (gotten pulled out twice, once was very muchly my fault, the other was a particularly nasty angled driveway).

    24 MPG, US, from a 1970s-technology engine and with the aerodynamic properties of a hay barn (front airdam's gone, too). I can live with that.

  17. Malcolm Says:

    @corinoco #13

    > I wonder what the 'gallon' value is for a car that has done 0km?

    Someone who knows more than me ought to pipe up, but what you're asking falls under "life cycle assessment", and it's a very tricky business indeed. This was the first reasonable LCA I could find for cars:

    "In the case of gasoline vehicles, the biggest generator of C[O.sub.2] is driving, accounting for 72 percent of emissions through the life of a car."

  18. TwoHedWlf Says:

    I wonder what they consider the life of the car? I think the average age of cars in the US is about 5 years. I'd consider the expected lifespan of a car to be 20 years. Obviously 5 years and 20 years would give a HUGE difference in the numbers.

    Also, the spelling on that article is horrible.

  19. wiregeek Says:

    TwoHedWlf: Anyone who ends up in the ditch automatically starts with the classification of 'idiot', no matter what they're driving.

    I'm The Guy With The Truck for my peer group, and I agree wholeheartedly on the 'pickup in case it snows', except that it's changing to '4wd/awd SUV'..

    BRB, two cords of firewood and a couple hundred board-feet of lumber to move.

  20. rndmnmbr Says:

    I should clarify, since everyone else is naming vehicles.

    I'm driving a '92 Chevy 3/4 ton truck, 173k miles total. Recently purchased to replace my '75 Chevy 1/2 ton, which got somewhere around 8 mpg (but was never drove outside of local trips). I would have happily traded for a car and better mpg, but I'm tall enough (and, sadly, thick enough) that I'm not comfortable even riding in cars, let alone driving them, unless we're discussing a 70's model road tank.

    My ~650 mile housemate is driving a '07 Ford Focus, and his mileage is somewhere around 38 mpg.

    And for the record, a light truck is the absolute worst thing to drive on snow and ice. A car has more weight over the drive axle, either FWD or RWD, providing extra traction, and has a lower center of gravity.

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