One of the regular questions relating to the Chevrolet Volt is: what happens to the fuel in the tank if it's not used for extended periods of time and the car is only run on plug power? General Motors officials have said that the engine might periodically run just for the purpose of using up some gas as well as circulating the oil and making sure that all the systems are working properly.

While perusing the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office application database, we stumbled across a filing from General Motors for a system to automatically deliver additives to the fuel tank of a plug-in hybrid vehicle. While the application mentions engines with a variety of fuels and several possible additives, this clearly seems like something applicable to the Volt. The system would have a controller to determine when and how much of an additive to deliver.

If a PHEV was regularly used for longer trips with the engine running, a fuel stabilizer would be unneeded, but if the controller detected a lot of short EV trips and the engine didn't run for weeks or months it could add stabilizer periodically. GM officials have not responded to a request for comment on whether we might see this functionality in the Volt.

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