Imagine if you could use water to help power your car. It’s clean, widely available, and seems safe. Would you be tempted to invest in a gadget that boasts its ability to boost fuel economy and lower emissions with water? Devices that tout these results have actually been around for decades. Their popularity often correlates with consumers’ concerns about rising fuel costs.
As part of Better Business Bureau’s local Advertising Review Program, Better Business Bureau challenged the claims that Aquatune Hydrogen Fuel Systems, Inc., Caddo Mills, TX, made about its “water injection system” for use with automobile, motorcycle, and boat engines.
Aquatune provided BBB with testimonials and some test results. However, BBB found that the data was insufficient to back up the company’s claims.
Aquatune now has a BBB rating of “F” due to unsubstantiated advertising claims.
Aquatune sells an injection system that it claims consists of “air injection, water injection and an ultra-sonic air regulator, also utilizing a hydrogen generator.” The concept, according to Aquatune’s website, was “used on the P-38 fighter planes during WW II” to increase horsepower.
“BBB has concerns that a mechanism designed to provide emergency sprint power for World War II-era fighter planes at high altitudes may not function in the same way in other engines,” said Phylissia Landix, Director of Ad Review in Dallas.
Moreover, BBB is concerned about the difficulty of ensuring consistent results considering the variety of makes, models, and years of vehicles on the road today.
At the time of BBB’s challenge, Aquatune’s website included several statements about the product’s efficacy. These statements included:
- From 25% and up increase in fuel economy!
- Up to 30% increase in horse power!
- Gets rid of harmful carbon deposits!
- Pass previously failed DEQ checkouts!
- Will not interfere with emissions.
- Drastically prolongs engine life.
- Will not void new car warranty.
Aquatune has also been the subject of two customer complaints in the last three years, BBB’s standard reporting period. One complaint said, “[the] Product was portrayed as a fuel saving device capable of providing a guaranteed 30% plus mileage improvement; unit did not work – refund was denied.” This complaint continued, “Aquatune unit was purchased for my semi tractor … for $14,000.”
The other complaint said, “This company guarantees that their product will increase your fuel economy by AT LEAST 25%, but their product actually hurt my fuel economy. Again, my fuel economy actually decreased, and it continued to decrease the longer it was installed….The payment amount was for $625.”
Ultimately, BBB found that Aquatune was unable to substantiate its claimed results. As of this date, Aquatune also has failed to modify or discontinue the advertised claims.
Given booming production of new hybrid vehicles by both foreign and domestic automakers for 2013, consumers are certainly focusing on fuel efficiency and environmental impact. Prior to buying a new car, as consumers search for ways to increase vehicle performance, BBB suggests that consumers beware of claims that seem too good to be true. Check out businesses at www.bbb.org prior to making a purchase. BBB Business Reviews show a BBB rating from A+ to F, based on 16 elements.
The BBB Code of Advertising calls for advertisers to be prepared to substantiate any claims before publication, and upon request, to present such substantiation to BBB. The standards also call for performance claims for a product to be “based on recent and competent scientific, engineering or other objective data.”