http://www.csicop.org/si/9801/powell.htmlMagnetic Fuel Treatment
Magnetic fuel treatment devices installed in automobiles are similar in design to magnetic water treatment devices. Hydrocarbon fuel is pumped through a canister containing one or more magnets or a magnetic device is clamped to the external surface of the fuel line. Magnetic treatment of fuel, it is claimed, results in increased horsepower, increased mileage, reduced hazardous gas emissions, and longer engine life.
Typically, vendors claim that either mileage or horsepower will be improved by about 10 to 20 percent. They also claim that if no improvement in mileage is noted, then the improvement must have come in the form of more horsepower. This, of course, makes it difficult for consumers to determine whether their magnetic fuel treatment devices really are working.
A literature search for magnetic fuel treatment studies revealed that such studies are practically nonexistent. I found a total of three references. Two of these (Daly 1995; McNeely 1994) were anecdotal accounts describing the use of a magnetic treatment device to kill microorganisms in diesel fuel, a fuel treatment application not usually mentioned by magnetic fuel treatment vendors.
The third reference (Tretyakov et al. 1985) describes tests conducted in which the electrical resistance and dielectric properties of a hydrocarbon fuel were found to change in response to an applied magnetic field. This report does not address whether the observed physical property changes might affect fuel performance in an engine, but it references two research reports that may contain performance data (Skripka et al. 1975; Tretyakov et al. 1975). Unfortunately, I could obtain neither report, and both are written in Russian.
My literature search search found no other credible research reports pertaining to magnetic fuel treatment.
The utter lack of published test data is revealing. According to the vendors, magnetic fuel treatment has been around for at least fifty years. If it actually worked as claimed, it seems likely that it would by now be commonplace. It is not.
Vendors of magnetic fuel treatment sometimes respond to this reasoning with hints that the automobile manufacturers and big oil companies are conspiring to suppress magnetic fuel treatment to maintain demand for gasoline. Such a conspiracy seems quite improbable. This supposed conspiracy has not managed to suppress other fuel-saving innovations such as fuel injection and computerized control.
In summary, I found no test data that support the claims for improved engine performance made by vendors of magnetic fuel treatment devices. Until such data become available, considerable skepticism is justified. At present, it seems quite unlikely that any of the claimed benefits of magnetic fuel treatment are real.