Best Fuel Additives: Maximize Your Fuel Efficiency with These Top Picks
Consider these fuel additives to improve efficiency in gas-powered vehicles.
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
BY Zach Faulds / LAST UPDATED ON June 1, 2021
Fuel additives are an extremely convenient and effective accessory for maximizing fuel efficiency in your gas-powered vehicles. Gasoline has been known to leave deposits over time that can damage your vehicle’s fuel system. Fuel additives can be used to prevent and fix many of these problems caused by deposits.
In addition to your everyday vehicle, some fuel additives can be used in diesel-powered engines. If you want to avoid rough idling, stumbling, weak acceleration, and stalling, consider getting a high-quality fuel additive for your vehicle. Additives will help to improve your vehicle's performance and preserve the overall life span of your engine. We looked at the best fuel additives available on the market. Whether you’re looking for great value, reliability, durability, or versatility, read on to see which additive is the best fit for your vehicle.
Formulated for both gas and diesel engines. Features strong compounds that clean and lubricate the fuel system for maximum performance. Blend of additives that gives the fuel system maximum efficiency.
- Can be used in vehicles that require leaded fuel because it substitutes the benefits of lead in gasoline.Increases lifespan of injectors and pumps.Increases power of your vehicle by burning excess exhaust emissions
- Contains chemicals that can be harmful to the environment.
- Slight contact with this additive causes skin irritation.
Designed to clean and prevent corrosion in gas engines. Contributes to 100 percent fuel system efficiency after the first clean.
- Prevents buildup of gum, carbon, and varnish in the fuel system.
- Treats all forms of fuel injection systems and promotes fuel stability.
- Safe for continuous use.
- Reduces need for high octane gas
- Comes in small size that may not be enough to treat large engine system.
- Not suitable for diesel fuel
Multifunctional and uses unique enzyme technology to enhance fuel efficiency. Features universal formulation that can be used with any gasoline engine or any ethanol-based fuel. Perfectly cleans fuel delivery system, which aids in fuel economy.
- Cures and prevents ethanol fuel problems for better engine performance.
- Stabilizes gasoline for up to two years.
- Not harmful to your system in case of an overdose
- Bottle does not allow for spill-free pouring.
- Most expensive on this list
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Fuel Additives
- Improve engine performance. Removing deposits in fuel results in a better flow of the fluid in the engine system. That means that your engine will experience less wear and perform to its full potential while retaining the same amount of fuel consumption.
- Maintain the quality of fuel you use. Fuel typically starts to break down when it passes through the different parts of the fuel system. The breakdown causes the fuel to degrade, which in turn results in the formation of corrosive deposits such as gum, varnish, and carbon that block the intake valves and carburetor jets. Using a fuel additive can stabilize the fuel and prevent premature degradation.
- Prevent breakdowns. The best fuel additives have corrosion inhibitors that reduce wear and premature breakdown of metal parts. This will help you keep your engine in good shape even without frequent maintenance checks.
- Reduce carbon emissions. Most fuel additives can remove carbon deposits in the fuel, which equates to better combustion of the fuel and fewer carbon emissions into the environment.
Types of Fuel Additives
Gas treatments are formulated with polyisobutene, and for that reason are cheap and widely available. They help improve the quality of gas by getting rid of harmful carbon deposits for cleaner emissions and breaking down water particles that can dilute the fuel.
Fuel Injector Cleaner
Fuel injector cleaners are an upgrade from gas treatments since they contain polyetheramine (PEA), which is one of the strongest cleaning agents. It also cleans more parts in comparison including the direct fuel injectors. The compound also removes clogs and carbon buildup in the fuel filter to restore it to its full functioning level.
You can expect the quality of fuel to diminish over time if your vehicle is left idle for a season or if the fuel is in storage. Fuel stabilizers work to maintain the quality of the fuel by absorbing water and slowing down oxidation and chemical breakdown of the fuel. It also keeps fuel fresh for a relatively long time if it's in storage.
While octane boosters aren’t formulated with the strongest cleaning agents, they do a good job of increasing the octane level in the fuel. Octane boosters help to clear away carbon deposits from the fuel intake system and are typically added to the gas tank before filling it up. A higher octane level results in fewer emissions of greenhouse gases.
Red Line is a California-based company that was founded in 1979. It currently manufactures more than 100 high-quality car care products. It uses cutting edge technology to create products that meet the performance demands of the industry. Some of its top products include the Red Line Complete Fuel System Cleaner and the Red Line V-Twin Primary Case Oil.
Royal Purple is a Texas-based producer of synthetic oils and lubricants with more than 200 years of experience. Its high-performance synthetic products significantly outperform mineral-based oils, petroleum byproducts, and other synthetics in the industry. Some of its top-quality products include the Royal Purple Max-Clean and the Royal Purple 10-48.
Chevron manufactures a wide line of additives that improve the performance of lubricants and fuels. Its products can be used on a wide line of vehicles, motorcycles, ships, farms, and industrial equipment. The company was founded in 1984 and has different brands under its umbrella including Techron, Caltex, Star Mart, Revtex, and Delo. Some of its best-rated oil additives include the Chevron Techron Concentrate Plus Fuel System Cleaner and the Techron D Concentrate.
Lucas is one of the best North American-based manufacturers of lubricants, fuel additives, and automotive oils. The company was founded in 1989 and is currently headquartered in Corona, California. It’s also a sponsor of the American racing industry. Some of its popular products include the Lucas Transmission Fix and the Lucas LUC10013 Fuel Treatment.
Fuel Additives Pricing
- Under $30: The pricing difference with fuel additives is usually determined by the size of the bottle. You should, therefore, expect to find anything below a gallon within this price range. How good or effective it depends on the brand and formulation.
- Over $30: Expect to find anything above a gallon in this price range. You will need to purchase an extra funnel, preferably a calibrated one, to measure the contents that you pour into the system, and to avoid making a mess.
Some manufacturers make fuel additives that are specific to either diesel or gas engines. You can also find a multifunctional product that works for both. It’s important that you choose a product that’s compatible with your engine’s fuel to avoid corrosive chemical reactions and damage rubber seals that will result in engine failure. Also, consult your owner’s manual on what types of formulations or ingredients you should avoid for your engine.
Fuel additives come in different sizes from 11-ounce bottles to large 5-gallon jars. If you don’t like to hoard car care products in your garage, you can go for a small bottle with just the right amount to treat your engine. However, there’s an upside to buying larger quantities: You can treat multiple vehicles or save money in the long run if it comes with a reasonable price tag.
Prioritize fuel additives have an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) label, meaning that they comply with environmental regulations. Such a product typically works by dissolving carbon deposits in the fuel to reduce exhaust smoke production and harmful carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
- Ease of Use: Ideally, there’s no learning curve to using a fuel additive since most come pre-prepared. What you are looking for, in this case, is a well-packaged, clear container that’s easy to hold and lets you know how much fluid is left.
- Range of Use: Prioritize additives that offer a wide number of benefits to the fuel system besides cleaning it. The best oil additives lubricate the engine parts, stabilize the fuel, prevent corrosion, and some also have engine cooling agents.
- Shelf Life: It’s important to choose a product with a long shelf life if you plan on buying in bulk or using the additive for a long period. Additives can remain stable for at least two years but when they expire, they typically leak from their containers. It’s a no-brainer that it will be useless after that.
Best Fuel Additives Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- When fuel additives come in contact with your skin or eyes, wash them right away. If you swallow the fuel additive, see a physician as soon as possible.
- To get the best out of your fuel additive, always use it on an empty tank or just before your next refill. This is because these chemicals work well before combustion.
- To ensure that your vehicle’s engine is well-protected, use the right amount of additive and refill as necessary.
- The type or brand of fuel additive you use may depend on your purpose for adding it. Make sure to research each product and determine if it’s a fuel system cleaner, fuel injection cleaner, gas mileage additive, or cooling system additive before making your final purchase.
- Make sure to thoroughly read the instructions included with your fuel additive to determine when and how to properly add it to your fuel. Failure to do so could result in incorrect use and potential damage to your vehicle's fuel system.
Q: Will fuel additives damage my car?
Fuel additives are harmless to vehicles. You can rest easy knowing that your vehicle will be safe and perform better. However, you should be careful when using engine cooling system additives that are meant to plug leaks.
Q: Do fuel additives increase mileage?
Using additives does not result in an increase in gas mileage. However, this does not make them worthless. They reduce carbon monoxide emissions, remove water in the fuel and get rid of any deposits that can harm your engine. This ensures your vehicle stays safe and your engine stays strong.
Q: When should I add the additive?
Gas treatments work best when they are added to the fuel tank first, before combustion. This means if you want to add a fuel additive, you should do so before you add any more gas to your vehicle. Just put in the recommended amount even if your tank is not empty.
For a high-quality fuel additive, consider the LUCAS LUC10013 Fuel Treatment, formulated for both gas and diesel engines, or the Red Line Complete Fuel System Cleaner, which contributes to 100 percent fuel system efficiency after the first clean.