Acetone: Conclusions

As of the most recent refill of my truck's gas tank, I am confident that I have enough data to draw some conclusions about the effect on fuel economy of using acetone as a fuel additive.

To recap, for anyone that might have forgotten or missed out, a number of months ago, I came across the suggestion on the internet that fuel economy could be improved by using a small quantity of acetone as a fuel additive. Since I wasn't terribly concerned about the risk of breaking my truck and desperately wanted a way to save some money on gasoline, I figured I might as well give it a shot. I started out by buying a gallon of pure acetone and adding a little bit by funnel every time I filled my gas tank (before the gas to encourage mixing). Initially I saw what might have been an improvement in fuel efficiency but I was relying on my memory and quickly saw my information as purely anecdotal. Understanding how useless anecdotal information is, I decided to approach the matter in a scientific and controlled manner. Now, 22 tanks of gas and nearly four months later I am ready to draw conclusions from my data.

I have found a near linear increase in fuel efficiency up to a peak increase of about 10% at a concentration of acetone of 0.2%. Further increases beyond 0.2% result in a very steep fall-off in fuel efficiency such that a concentration of 0.25% is less fuel efficient than no acetone at all. For those that don't want to think about concentrations, 0.2% acetone is almost exactly equal to 1/3 cup acetone for every 10 gallons of fuel.

Just to be political, or something like that, for a moment, if I can finagle a 10% increase in my fuel economy out of ¢10 worth of acetone, I am doing a huge service to my bank account and the environment (acetone doesn't pollute any more than gasoline). Now let's just take a moment to think about how much of an impact there would be on the environment if every single car in America improved its fuel efficiency by 10%; acknowledging that, why isn't there a government mandate on gasoline requiring it to contain 0.2% acetone (or thereabouts)? My guess would be because your monetary savings would come straight out of the oil companies pockets, but that's beside the point. I think everyone should start adding acetone to their fuel tanks, saving themselves some money, helping the environment and cutting back on our oil consumption. Hmm, maybe I'll write my senator.

I should like to add the caveat that these results are true for my truck and other vehicles may have slightly different acetone concentration sensitivities. If you decide to follow my lead and add acetone to your vehicles fuel tank, you should perform some experiments on your own to determine your vehicles efficiency peak concentration. You should use pure acetone (solvent from a hardware store), not the scented stuff you can buy at CVS. Also, if you do something stupid and blow up your car or something, it'll be your fault alone.


[insert provocative innuendo about filling my gas tank anytime]

"acetone doesn’t pollute any more than gasoline" How is acetone produced?

It occurs naturally and can be produced industrially. Also, I should like to modify my statement about not polluting more than gasoline; acetone actually reduces emissions somewhat.

I just wanted to say that I have just under a half tank of acetone added fuel in my 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited. This is the third tank I've added acetone to although I’ve been giving it an approximation at how much I’ve been adding I’ve noticed a much better performance and my mileage has went up considerably. I believe that I've possible been adding too much acetone because of my guessing but I did know the exact mileage which was 14.8 average MPG in this vehicle that has a 4.7 V8. It is now getting 17.2 MPG and is getting better and the performance is absolutely amazing! I can tell a very big difference in performance! I’m defiantly going to get something to measure how much acetone I put in my tank now! I’ve been sending these articles to everyone I know because I believe that it is very legitimate. Every weekend I take a 166 mile round trip. Before I used the acetone I always had to fill up on my way back home because I don’t like to go below a quarter of a tank and I would already be under a quarter of a tank half way back. This past weekend with the third tank of an “approximation”? of acetone in it and after I drove approximately 30 miles extra after getting to my destination instead of just going straight there and then straight back I had just under half a tank after driving home with out stopping to fuel up! I went straight home a couple times before without stopping for fuel and I ended up with about an eighth of a tank so the first thing I needed to do the next time I got out was fuel up. Now when I got back home from my 166 mile trip with the extra 30 miles this time I have just under a half a tank! Now I don’t have to stop to get fuel on the way back. I’ve gained at least a quarter of a tank of fuel by using acetone and only guessing at what I was adding to my tank. Yes I’m defiantly a believer because I’ve seen the results and I’m still amazed! Everything I did was a guess except for my mileage which I know to be right. So all I can say now is………AMAZING!!! And now I need to get something to measure exact amounts of acetone so I can do it right!

You don't need anything terribly exact; I use a standard, kitchen 1/3 cup measure (1 per tank). Though make sure you avoid plastic measuring instruments because acetone can eat away at some types of plastic.

Haven't noticed an increase in mpg but car is running much better and has a much smoother idle, much better than before using acetone, will post results next time i fill up.

I got a 2000 Jeep Cherokee 2wd I-6 about a month ago. It got 16 mpg for the 1st tank. I had the oil, all filters, plugs and wires changed out, as well as new tires with nitrogen in them. Now it's up to 20 mpg. Well it was until today. I just started using acetone in my tank today. I put 2 oz in for 14 gallons. Previously I averaged about 20 MPG. I drove 150 miles and averaged 22.5 mpg with the acetone. I'm very interested to see what tomorrows reading hold. I drive about 100 miles a day so I'll know pretty quick if it makes a difference. It does seem to help the performance a noticeable bit.

You've inspired me. I've read about acetone for hours today and I'm going to try an experiment on my car. Now I've just got to find a source of 100% pure around here.

Thanks, Paul

Acetone being added to your tank has its distinct advantages, however, be careful -- acetone in its purest form will eat away at your car's rubber hoses, gaskets and o-rings which are susceptible to its paint-eating strength. Oh yeah.. and make sure you don't accidentally spill even the smallest amount of acetone on your gas door or car's paint because acetone is one of the base ingredients in paint thinner. It WILL eat your paint away!

Chris makes a very good point. The car which I did all of this work on was one in poor enough shape that damaging the paint would not have bothered me, though I did not notice any loss of paint.

The rubber issue is a MUCH more insidious one; you will want to make sure there is no rubber in your fuel line and that you do not have a rubber lined fuel tank or you may develop a leak over time.

You can solve the acetone and rubber issue by adding the acetone to gasoline (say a quart) so that it is diluted when it goes into the tank via the rubber hose. it is not near a dangerous when diluted.