- Fuel Freedom International
Fuel Freedom International is a
multi-level marketingcompany based in Altamonte Springs, Floridaand co-owned by Wendy Lewis and Randy Ray. It sells pills trade marked as MPG-CAPS, which are engine conditioners that, it is claimed improve fuel economy, reduce emissions and increase engine power. [http://fuelsaving.info/ffi.htm Case Study: Fuel Freedom International's MPG-Caps] ] These claims are currently under civil investigation by the Office of the Attorney General of Florida (Case Number: [http://myfloridalegal.com/lit_ec.nsf/investigations/9A273C156767B36B852571790047313C L06-3-1090] "Unfair/deceptive business practices in the sale of product that purports to make gasoline burn with greater efficiency without independent scientific testing to substantiate claim") It is further claimed that the MPG-CAPS pills remove carbon build up from an engine and deposit a catalytic film that allows fuel to burn more completely.
The company says that the product was "originally developed by NASA for the 1970s space shuttle program",Product Advertisement, The Star Newspaper, Christchurch, NZ, 27th August 2008] although no documentary evidence is offered to support this claim.
The product is EPA registered per 40 CFR 79.23 - a requirement for all gasoline additives sold in the USA. Registration involves providing a chemical description of the product and certain technical, marketing and health-effects information. [ [http://www.epa.gov/otaq/additive.htm#list epa.gov] ] The EPA did not test the claims of increased engine power and reduced emissions, and does not endorse, certify or approve the product. The company report attached to the EPA report (EPA Internal identification number 218820001) "provides technical documentation for this product as a lead replacement in gasoline for use in engines susceptible to valve seat recession". [Advanced Fuel Technologies Field test report #710A]
The company retails MPG-CAPS directly or through
multi-level marketingvia "independent distributors". To become a distributor there is an initial buy-in and an emphasis on the necessity of recruiting other people in order to receive commissions. This follows the structure of multi-level marketing, although there are recruiting bonuses after three retail sales a month as an incentive to grow the sales force, the majority of the cash-flow is said to be generated by commissions on sales.
However, the status of the company as a multi-level marketing enterprise is currently under civil investigation by the Office of the Attorney General of Florida (Case Number: [http://myfloridalegal.com/lit_ec.nsf/investigations/9A273C156767B36B852571790047313C L06-3-1090] "...product is sold/distributed by means of multi-level marketing whereby the compensation is not based primarily on volume of bona fide sales. Possible violations of Florida Unfair or Deceptive Trade Practices Act, F.S. 501.201. et. seq., production and/or soliciting on behalf of a chain letter or pyramid club (F.S. 849.091).")
An example of a recognised independent testing program to "evaluate aftermarket retrofit devices which claim to improve automotive fuel economy and/or reduce exhaust emissions"EPA Motor Vehicle Aftermarket Retrofit Device Evaulation Program, United States Environmental Protection Agency, EPA420-B-00-003, May 2000] is that run by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified by test program authorities 42 USC 7525 and 49 USC 32918, and formerly known as the "511 Program".The EPA requires a formal statement that the test laboratory "shall have no financial interests in the outcome of these tests other than the fee charged for each test performed". The Federal Test Procedure comprises a simulated city drive trace, and a simulated highway drive test. The tests are conducted in triplicate using two different vehicles. The vehicles should be from two different manufacturers and should be examples of the largest selling engine/transmission combinations on the US market. Tests are conducted in a "back-to-back" fashion. In the case of fuel additives that don't require an engine retune, then triplicate tests with and without the additive are required.The tests on MPG-Caps do not apparently comform to this standard. Examples of such tests are:
* A study conducted by
ABC Newsaffiliate WPVI found no improvement at lower speeds and only a 4% improvement at highway speeds. [http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/PainAtThePump/story?id=1850045&page=1 abcnews.go.com] ] However, it was later found that in the test, the reporter only drove around 50 miles – and the product is only expected to work after a few tanks of fuel. More comprehensive testing by ABC affiliate TMJ4 found an increase in mileage from 22 miles per gallonon the highway, and 18 miles on city streets; to 30 for highway and 25 city. These tests did not use the double blindtechnique and the results may be therefore due to a placebo effect.
* Tests by an alleged former distributor in the program, claim lower emissions. [ [http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/ripoff198149.htm ripoffreport.com] ] However, initial promising mileage improvements declined over time and eventually degraded to below what they were before using the pills. It was also questionable if the pills were effective for newer cars.
A critical apprasal of some test results was conducted by fuelsaving.info, [ [http://www.fuelsaving.info/ffi.htm Case Study: Fuel Freedom International's MPG-Caps] ] which notes that the MPG-Caps were originally designed to allow older engines to run on unleaded gas with out valve recession and much of the fuel economy data presented is based on older vehicles.
* [http://myffi.biz/ Fuel Freedom International]
* [http://www.epa.gov/otaq/consumer/reports.htm| Gas Saving and Emission Reduction Devices Evaluation]
* [http://www.aardvark.co.nz/fuelsaverscams.shtml| Do fuel saving devices work]
* [http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/autos/aut10.shtm| "Gas-Saving" Products: Fact or Fuelishness?]
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