Over the years, countless companies have come up with devices claiming to reduce fuel consumption. Those claims have ranged from plausible to the ridiculous. For example, wrapping magnets around your fuel line will not double your mileage and the only way you will ever get 200 mpg with a carburetor is to make it so small that air and fuel flow are so severely restricted as to make it useless.

Spark plugs have long been a popular area for innovation of this sort. One of the latest comes in the form of the E3 spark plug. This one falls into the plausible-but-unlikely category. Writer Larry Edsall recently undertook a 5,000 mile road trip – one he does annually – and decided to try out the E3 plugs. While E3 claims a 3-5 percent improvement in mileage, Edsall found his dipped from 20.11/19.98 the previous two years to 19.18 with the E3 plugs. He did all the usual maintenance like oil changes and tire pressures before leaving.

Of course, the vehicle was a year older and more worn – and that may have contributed to the dip. But even a fully scientific test with two or more vehicles running side by side in the same conditions (aside from the spark plugs) would probably yield a negligible difference at best. The E3 plugs aren't that pricey, so if you do choose to try them it won't cost a lot. Just don't be too disappointed if you don't see much – if any – improvement in mileage.

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