Looks like everyone is on board with polymer additives to gasoline
except the scientific community who assures me it is too expensive and
complicated to work out. It seems this oyster farmer has more on the
ball than our modern day scholars of technology. Of course he would not
be eligible for the Nobel Peace prize so what good is he doing
Maine - Boothbay Register Nov 02, 2006 Vol 129, Number 44
"Cheaper fuel and cleaner air on the way?"
Joe Orchulli Ii
Gary Arnold of West Boothbay Harbor displays containers of a special
polymer fuel additive that he is offering to citizens in the Boothbay
region in a community-wide trial basis.
(Photo Joe Orchulli II)
In the age of rising fuel costs and concern over the environment, local
resident Gary Arnold of West Boothbay Harbor has identified a unique,
useful, and readily available technology to help answer some of these
Arnold, who has been attuned to fuel additive technologies since an
accident at a salmon hatchery in 1987, is providing bottles of a novel
polymer fuel additive to anyone who will report back with results. He
is interested in doing a regional test to help to bring Maine and all
of New England into the same arena as counties in Texas and California
who are now using the additive in fuel to help decrease air pollution.
Developed by Jerry Trippe of General Technology Applications of
Virginia, the additive, marketed as Viscon, not only cuts down on
noxious emissions, but also has been discovered to save on fuel
consumption in diesel trucks and automobiles.
In Local Diesel Trucks
Remarkable improvement in fuel efficiency has been seen in local trucks
using fuel treated with minute doses of this ultra high molecular
weight polymer. This technology has been touted primarily as a method
to significantly reduce exhaust emissions.
Boothbay Town Manager John Anderson said, "We are very pleased with the
results, we are seeing a 20 to 25 percent savings in all of our
vehicles with a high of 28.8 percent savings in our 2006 GMC 5500.
"I looked over all of the material that Gary gave me and called
Downeast Energy, and after hearing their results, I asked Tony Goode to
try it out at the Public Works Department.
"Eventually we will put the polymer directly into our fuel depot. It is
a big help to the community in a time where fuel prices are where they
"Gary has been a wonderful person to work with it. A guy who is an
oyster farmer and now a polymer fuel expert, who would have guessed it
would get a 20 to 30 percent increase!" Anderson said.
Downeast Energy reported an amazing increase of 30 to 70 percent fuel
mileage increases in its trucks.
Peter Armstrong of "On the Road" trucks in Warren tested the polymer
additive in a truck, which normally consumes $700 to $800 per trip and
was reduced to $496, a dramatic percent increase in mileage, plus the
driver reported more power in the performance of the truck.
Daren Graves of G&G Towing reported an increase of 28.89 percent in
fuel savings in his 2005 Ford Sterling.
"It's saving me money. Gary's been really great about it. We even tried
going off of it for a week and it went back to the mileage we started
with," Graves said
Not Just For Diesel.
As far as use in gasoline engines, marine scientist Richard Langton of
the Darling Center in Walpole, and a resident of Edgecomb has used the
gasoline additive on and off for over a year.
"My daughter has an old Subaru and is always asking for PIB. Both my
son and daughter are interested in the additive because it saves them
money at the pump.
"In our four cars, we've seen a range of 10 to 20 percent increase in
gas mileage, Langton said.
"It's not snake oil. Gary is on to something here. I would definitely
encourage people to try it. It is a simple solution to some of our fuel
problems. I believe that it should be in everybody's car.
"If anything, it cleans out your engine and improves things. My mileage
is still good even after not using it for a time," said Langton.
Not Just in Maine
Tested extensively in California, this polymer technology was recently
approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for use in diesel fuel
to improve the air quality of the 110 counties in East Texas (including
the cities of Houston, Dallas, and Fort Worth) where NOx levels
exceeded EPA strictures.
John Bastey, former head of the Air Quality Bureau in the Maine
Department of Environmental Protection, said that he is getting just
over 36 mpg in flat and level driving on the Maine Turnpike, up from
32.5 mpg using the additive . "Cleaner air is what is really important
to me, Bastey said.
"What does make the difference using this technology are the emissions,
that's an important thing, the environmental impact.
"I arranged an opportunity for Gary to meet with Ron Severance at the
Maine Department of Environmental Protection about the polymer
technology and Severance actually called officials in Texas about the
recent approval and use of the polymer technology. He also said he was
going to try the polymer in his personal auto.
"Regulatory officials in other states are looking into what is
happening in California and Texas. Hopefully they can help start a
trend leading to acceptance of the Texas Model in other states." said
Back in 1987
Arnold notes, "Back in 1987, at a salmon hatchery in Bingham, Maine, I
lost over 300,000 fry to MTBE pumped in from a gasoline spill. Since
then I've been a supporter for removal of MTBE from the nation's fuel
supply and have paid more attention to the products represented as
offering benefit in reducing emissions.
"I learned about the technology purely by chance a few years ago; it
was represented as being so effective in reducing exhaust emissions
that it totally obviated need for MTBE in gasoline."
Even in Bubble Gum?
In looking into Viscon , Arnold found that the polymer,
polyisobutylene, is a non-toxic, environmentally benign, pure food
grade polymer developed in the 1930s during research and development on
synthetic rubber. It is currently used as a component in fuel and oil
additives (to add lubricity), paint, adhesives, caulk, coatings, and
even in chewing gum.
In the fuel additive application, it is used in extremely low
quantities, 5 ppm in diesel and 10 ppm in gasoline.
The EPA required no testing for the fuel aftermarket and classifies the
product as a fuel complement (more like a constituent) rather than a
"The polymer has a 50-year track record of use in internal combustion
engines in lower molecular weight forms.
"Once exposed to combustion, the polymer dissembles into 4- and
8-carbon chains, the same base units of the fuel constituents, and is
"I contacted the manufacturer and talked with Jerry Trippe, the primary
developer of this polymer technology," Arnold said. I had no way to
verify the claims regarding emission reduction, but it was explained
that the polymer also helped fuel efficiency. I bought some product and
began testing it in my own auto, some friends' vehicles, and eventually
buses, trucks, and even locomotives at Guilford Transportation."
Arnold's Testing Gets
"When the manufacturer found out what I was doing, they began to
provide me product at no charge and, in return, I provide them with
results on my limited field trials.
"Generally improvement in the range of 5-12 percent was seen in diesel
applications, but about a year ago some very dramatic results were seen
in trials conducted with Downeast Energy on newer model fuel delivery
trucks powered by the International DT466 engines.
"With this information in hand, it became easier to arrange additional
trials including those conducted locally over the last several months.
"Good results have also now been seen in late model trucks powered by
Cummins, Isuzu, and Mercedes engines."
These results involving the newer model vehicles have surprised even
the manufacturer of the polymer technology.
"I believe that innovations and technical advances made by engine
design teams working to meet impending (2007) emission strictures are
significantly leveraged when the combustion environment is optimized
using polymer," Arnold said.
Possible explanations include: enhanced onboard computing capacity and
more refined programs, high pressure digitally controlled, common-rail
fuel injection systems, emission gas recycling techniques, and variable
speed turbochargers some having adjustable vanes.
Not all vehicles show improvement. Three school buses (BRSD), a rubbish
truck (Giles), and a seafood delivery truck (Mill Cove Lobster)
exhibited no benefit using the polymer.
"The polymer technology is novel in that, in stark contrast to the
hundreds of other additives on the market, it does not function as a
reagent in combustion chemistry, Arnold said.
"The polymer is indeed a chemical, but it serves only to alter the
physical behavior of the fuel and it actually functions more like a
mechanical device in that exerts physical control over the size and
rigidity of fuel droplets during aerosolization.
Can I Get Some For My Car?
"It is a simple and elegant approach to controlling combustion and
reducing exhaust emissions and, serendipitously, it appears to
dramatically reduce fuel consumption," Arnold said.
If you would like to participate in the community-based trial using
your truck, bus, boat, auto, or piece of equipment e-mail Gary Arnold
at firstname.lastname@example.org and log onto to post
Reporter Joe Orchulli II, driving a 1992 Plymouth Voyager mini-van
reported his gas mileage improving from 17.33 mpg to 21.33 mpg and
obtained 24.44 mpg on a recent highway trip using the polymer.
- posted 15 years ago