The first clip shows a woman in South Africa point a camera at her dashboard to show that she has 80 kilometres of fuel remaining. She then drops an orange tablet into the tank and proceeds to list a range of purported benefits as a pump attendant fills up her car. There was no evidence to prove these claims however as the video abruptly ended after, seeming to be more of an advertisement or tutorial on how to use the product as opposed to a video showing proof of the purported benefits. The second clip is of the same TikTok user sharing that the tablet she added to the fuel tank was the B-Eco fuel tablet.
With petrol prices having more than doubled in the past 5 years in South Africa, the video comes at a relevant time, with fuel-saving solutions looking like attractive propositions to motorists who are struggling with rising fuel costs.
When we looked up B-Eco fuel tablets, we found that they are made by B-Epic, a “health and wellness” supplements company that claims their fuel additives “provide a more complete combustion of the fuel poured into the tank”. The benefits in fuel combustion are claimed to result in an average reduction in fuel consumption of 15-20%.
Interestingly, this is not the first time that products aimed at reducing fuel consumption by being placed in petrol tanks have been marketed to consumers. Way back in 2008, a similar “fuel-saving” pill was introduced to the South African market, with the South African Automobile Association warning consumers to be careful when using such products.
An investigation into the claim by AFP Fact Check found that claims of reduced fuel consumption had no scientific basis at all, effectively debunking these claims as being “scientifically impossible”. According to the Sasol Fuels Application Centre, a fuels research and development facility in Cape Town in their response to AFP, it is scientifically impossible to achieve a 15-percent improvement in fuel consumption as the pills do not contain any energy content. Petrol contains a certain energy content, and modern engines are effective in releasing all of this in the combustion process. Without adding more energy content, you cannot improve fuel consumption significantly.
The Sasol Centre further explained that introducing a solid item of unknown content into your fuel tank is not advisable. The content of these tablets might block filters, damage the fuel gauge or release chemicals that could damage the engine.
As such, it is false that there are “eco-tablets” that will improve fuel consumption when placed in a fuel tank. Instead, these tablets have the potential to cause an engine more harm than good.