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Robert Todd Carroll

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Inset Fuel Stabilizer

Some people wonder why aliens with more time than intelligence would come to earth to mutilate cattle or abduct people for genetic engineering projects. Others ponder more serious questions, such as, what kind of engineering do these creatures have? Do they use leaded or unleaded? Paper or plastic? What kind of gas mileage do they get? Does their spacecraft meet California's rigid emission standards? How did they get here on just one tank of fuel, and how do they keep hovering around for all these years without making a pit stop at Exxon or BP? I think I have figured out the last question: they use the Inset Fuel Stabilizer!

They must use the Inset Fuel Stabilizer (IFS) [no trademark because they were denied one on July 31, 1997]. There is no other explanation for it. What else could possibly explain how they continue to hover around the earth undiscovered, year after year, without making a single pit stop for gas? How else can we explain how they traveled billions of miles without any sign of polluting the atmosphere? The gas mileage the aliens get and the clean air their craft emits cannot possibly be explained by any of the known laws of physics, or chemistry, or biology, or California. The aliens are using the Inset Fuel Stabilizer.

This amazing device, according to its inventor, Bob Pearson, is able to align fuel and air molecules "in an energy field" so that they completely burn inside the Stabilizer. How does it do this? Bob has no idea, but it works. Of course it does. Only a perverted skeptic could mistrust such a claim. John Nacco of Inset Industries claims that the molecules that make up hydrocarbon fuels are surrounded by a positive charge. He claims this positive charge tends to attract other fuel molecules and that  removing the positive charge causes the molecules to repel each other. This, he says, allows oxygen molecules to attach themselves to individual fuel molecules instead of  having to bond to clusters of fuel molecules. The increased level of oxygen in the mix produces a  more even burn, he claims, resulting in close to 100 percent combustion of the fuel molecules. Of course, Mr. Nacco does not explain why positively charged "molecules" would attract other positively charged molecules. Nor does he explain why a negatively charged molecule would repel rather than attract a positively charged one. Nor does he explain why oxygen molecules, which have no charge, would be attracted to negatively charged fuel "molecules". Given such a flawed account of chemical bonding, why should we believe him when he claims near 100 percent combustion of fuel molecules? Why should we believe him when he says that the longer the fuel stabilizer is in use, the lower the emissions readings become? Why should we believe another Inset person named Marshall who said he installed a stabilizer in his wife's 1990 Honda and within 11 days, hydrocarbon counts dropped from 145 parts per million to 9 parts per million and carbon monoxide emissions were eliminated completely (Chicago Tribune, May 3, 1994)? We can believe Marshall, but what does his data mean? Very little, since we do not know if he did anything else on his wife’s car or if he had it tested on the same equipment or if the car had the same fuel in it for both tests.

What is the Stabilizer, then? This much we can say: it is a 7-inch long piece of stainless steel. It has been describe as looking like a slim beer can with a bolt-like valve on each end. That's it. There is no more. It is just a stainless steel tube that is designed to be inserted in your vehicle's fuel line. How does a stainless steel pipe align molecules or change their charges?  No one knows. How does it keep them aligned once they leave the pipe? No one knows. Why would their alignment or charge have anything to do with if they would burn or emit polluting particulates? No one knows. Trust Bob, John, and Marshall though, because they say it works!

Ray Hall read about the Inset Fuel Stabilizer in his local newspaper in Naperville, Illinois. The city of Naperville had shelled out $1,500 each for Stabilizers for the city's maintenance and police vehicles. Mr. Hall has some background in chemistry and physics. The claims reported by local journalist Susan Trudeau did not have the ring of verisimilitude, so Mr. Hall contacted her. She  passed the buck to a Mr. Morris of Inset Industries. Morris told Hall that even the inventor did not know how it works, but the results speak for themselves. The results, unfortunately, were all in the form of anecdotes and uncontrolled studies of negligible scientific merit.

Mr. Morris told Hall that the Stabilizer was not patented because the workings were a trade secret and they didn’t want to reveal this information in a patent application. This seems patently absurd, not to patent such a revolutionary device. Morris did not appreciate having the claims of Inset challenged and "condemned me for my negative attitude," says Hall. Morris said that Inset was only trying to save the world from pollution and they had many satisfied customers, including police departments. Maybe these were the same police departments who were conned into buying the Quadro Tracker. Mr. Hall was disappointed that the reporter  hadn’t checked out Morris’s claims, including the claim that an endorsement from the Environmental Protection Agency was forthcoming in the near future. Hall’s own investigation revealed that the EPA does not endorse products.

I must admit that I was very skeptical of Mr. Hall's claims.  I checked out the WWW home page of Inset [, which is now defunct] and, sure enough, it claimed that this tube can align molecules and thereby save you money on gasoline and make your engine run virtually pollution free. There were testimonials from cops, garbage truck drivers and others, as to the wonders of the Stabilizer. There was also a table which one could use to calculate how much money you can expect to save on gas by using the Stabilizer. There was another unskeptical newspaper article for perusal. What you did not find, though, was any evidence that the Stabilizer had been tested under anything that might vaguely resemble a controlled study. A recent visit to the Inset homepage revealed that the mileage chart is no longer  there. Inset has since stopped touting the fuel economy/gasoline savings angle. Since such companies do not usually voluntarily remove such claims, it is likely they did so as a result of being taken to court. In any case, the main angle now is emission control. Despite all the hype about how it increases gas mileage and power and reduces emissions, the only thing guaranteed by Inset is that "the Fuel Stabilizer will reduce air pollution emissions to the level required by the Federal Clean Air Act and State emissions standards." For most cars, this guarantee means nothing, since they already are at that level or can be made so with a minor tune up. The Inset sells for about $1,600. For those cars which are in such bad shape that they can’t meet these standards, the cost of the Inset would be more than the car is worth.

The main evidence presented by Inset Industries for their product is in the form of testimonials and some indecipherable charts. It is easy to dismiss testimonials by company executives, but how can we dismiss the testimonial of an unnamed municipality in Texas which has tested some 340 diesel vehicles and reports that "the opacity on 340 diesel powered vehicles met State of Texas pollution standards while fuel economy increased approximately 19%"? Well, for one thing, fuel economy is not guaranteed when you buy the product. Secondly, there are no established emission standards for diesel engines, according to an unnamed supervisor involved in the purchase and testing of the IFS. The municipality is unnamed, though why it should be is puzzling. The unnamed source is also quoted as saying: "We had 97 to 99 percent opacity of particulate matter from our diesels, which was causing black smoke. I was getting more than 30 calls per week from residents complaining about the smoke coming from our garbage trucks. With the stabilizer installed, particulate matter dropped to 25 percent. When we shifted to low sulfur diesel, particulate matter dropped to 10 to 12 percent. We're not getting any more complaints about black smoke from our trucks." We have the word of unnamed source, probably an interested party, since he may have been responsible for asking the municipality to buy 340 of these devices at a total cost of something like half a million dollars. He gives us no report or indication that there is any report, no idea of how these tests were conducted. We’re to take his word that "particulate matter" dropped significantly. This is not reliable evidence; it’s hearsay. We have no idea how he got his numbers. We don’t know whether the reduction in smoke and the decrease of complaints was due to switching to the stabilizer or to the low sulfur fuel, or to some other factor. What looks like a significant amount of supportive evidence vaporizes under analysis. This is just the testimony of an unnamed source in an unnamed community making undocumented claims.

But what about the race car driver who swears by the IFS. In an article in Trackside magazine, NASCAR racer Dean Gullik reportedly felt that his race car had more power with the IFS. A test of horsepower with and without the IFS revealed there was no difference. Rather than admit that his perception of more power was wrong, Gullik came to agree with John Nacco of Inset who said that the increased power wasn’t from increased horsepower but due to a change in "the torque curve." In any case, NASCAR officials let Gullik use the IFS because it had no measurable effect on the car’s power. They consider it a "pollution control device". What is the evidence for that? A test was performed by Al Connors of Alan and Son Car Care Center (NJ State License # 06227) on Hwy. 202 in Branchburg, N.J. With the engine idling normally on 110 octane leaded racing fuel, readings taken from the left side exhaust showed the following
 emissions levels:

     CO = .04%
     HC = 62 ppm (parts per million)
     C02 = .0%

Unfortunately, no comparable data were given for the car without the device, for typical emission readings on other race cars with similar engines and using the same gasoline. And, we have no idea of how accurate the testing equipment was. Inset claims that "Race cars with this type of engine and fuel typically produce hydrocarbon readings of around 1000 PPM and carbon monoxide readings in the 6.0% range. This race car, stripped of every pollution control device except the Fuel Stabilizer, is the first one with emissions significantly lower than the New Jersey Inspection standards for pollutants. New Jersey standards are: Hydrocarbons below 220 PPM and Carbon Monoxide below 1.2%." If this data is accurate, then why is the Inset guarantee so paltry? The only thing that Inset guarantees with its product is that your car will meet these New Jersey standards with the IFS. You would think they would be willing to guarantee something as dramatic as their testimonials.

Relying on peoples’ perceptions of things is not very scientific. Relying on testimonials by interested parties is unreasonable, even if the testimonial is couched in terms of scientific data. Tests of single vehicles or small numbers of vehicles are notoriously unreliable. Faulty equipment or faulty use of the equipment becomes a significant problem. Finally, there is a good reason for doing controlled experiments. They reduce the probability that other factors are actually responsible for the data. In the case of testing a device for pollution control several things must be controlled for:

1. The testing equipment itself must be thoroughly tested. Vehicles without the device must be tested several times, using the same kind of gasoline with the tank similarly filled, to see how much variation occurs. Temperature control is essential for this test, since temperature may effect the performance of the equipment and the vehicle, especially if the test is done at a time of year and in a location where the morning temperature may differ significantly from the afternoon  temperature.

2. Once the variance of the equipment is established, controls must be made over the fuel and maintenance of the vehicles.

    a) The same fuel from the same batch must be used throughout, to insure that any difference in data is not due to differences in fuel

    b) No changes in the auto equipment other than the device being tested can be allowed: no changes in spark plugs, no adjustments of the carburetor, no cleaning of the fuel injector system, no adjustment to the timing, etc. Everything must remain the same in the vehicles except for what is being tested.

    c) Vehicles must be tested under the same conditions: thus if vehicles are to be tested months after the first test, making it unlikely that the later tests will be able to use fuel from the same batch as the first test, there must a comparative test made of both the equipment and vehicles without the device at the beginning test and the later test. A baseline of variance must be established. Testing vehicles months later introduces special control problems. Temperatures under which testing is done may differ radically in summer and winter in some places. Making sure that the drivers of the vehicles do not have any work done on the car in the interval is a logistical problem of varying magnitude. In a municipal fleet, for example, no maintenance can be allowed on vehicles between tests: no oil changes, no tune ups, etc.

In reading the testimonials provided by Inset, there does not seem to be anything like a controlled experiment they can report. The only controlled experiment known to be done on their device proved negative and they reject the results. That is understandable, but why should we agree with Inset rather than the New Jersey Institute of Technology who did a controlled experiment on the Inset and found it to be of no value?

 The New Jersey Institute of Technology in consultation with Stevens Institute tested the Stabilizer at the request of State Senator Robert Littell, who reported that he was getting great results with the device. Their tests showed that the device made no difference in gas mileage or emissions. The report was published in the December 1995 issue of the trade journal Fleet Executive magazine. The report was signed by NJIT Professor and Vice President of Research and Graduate Studies Dr. Robert Pfeffer; NJIT Professor Dr. John Droughton; Stevens Institute of Technology Professor and Director of the Center of Environmental Engineering Dr. George Korfiatis; and NJIT Professor of Engineering and Science Dr. Richard S. Magee. Senator Littell said he was "perplexed by the findings of the report" and refused to accept the findings. So did  Inset and they filed a lawsuit against NJIT. A large scale test of the Inset and four other air pollution control products was conducted by researchers at the Armament Systems Process Division of the U.S. Army's laboratories at Picatinny Arsenal for the New Jersey Department of Transportation, but the report was not released because of major problems with the testing equipment. There has been an ongoing controversy in New Jersey regarding the reliability of the equipment they use to test emissions. In August 1996, the state of New Jersey charged Inset with violating the Consumer Fraud Act and state securities laws. But Inset continues to flourish on the Internet.

I asked a friend of mine who used to own an auto repair shop if he had ever heard of the Stabilizer. He said that he had but it was called the Vitalizer when he was in business. He thinks it might be the same thing being marketed under another name. He even suggested the unthinkable: there might be fraud involved here! I couldn't believe my ears. Fraud on the internet! What a concept! Anyway, I asked him: why, if this were fraud, would anyone be so blatant about it? Weren't they afraid of being caught and severely punished by the very law enforcement agencies who were giving testimonials for them? Not very likely, he said. By the time law enforcement catches up with these kinds of frauds, says my friend, they have moved on, changed their name, and are doing business as usual somewhere else with the same product but a new name. It happens all the time in the fuel and oil additive industry, he said. So, it wouldn't surprise him if it happened in the steel tube/fuel efficiency industry, too.

Well, I was shocked. I had been getting a lot of mail from people who were feeling sorry for me because I was such a negative person. I had vowed to be more positive just to make them feel better. So I looked for the silver lining in the Inset Stabilizer story and thought I had found it in the alien fuel efficiency angle. Now, I have to rethink my hypothesis. But wait. Maybe I can still find something positive here. I can say that if there are aliens hovering around earth looking for some good beef to mutilate or some tasty humans to experiment on, then they are probably using the Inset Fuel Stabilizer. And maybe Bob Pearson doesn't have to worry about a patent because he has one on his home planet.

I don't know if they have an environmental protection agency on Bob's planet, but here on earth the EPA did tests on the Inset Fuel Stabilizer and found that it neither reduces vehicle emissions nor increase fuel mileage. What a shock!

Postscript:  For those of you who balk at the $1,600 price tag on the Inset Fuel Stabilizer, don't fret. For a mere $239.95, plus tax and shipping and handling, you can get the  Mileage Wizard ™. This device, we are told on the authority of those who are selling it, is a gadget which utilizes "cutting edge technology." According to its promoters, "the gasoline is introduced into the thermal magnetic vaporization chamber creating an almost vapor state prior to entering the fuel injectors, creating greater fuel efficiency."  If you do not trust their data on fuel efficiency you can call the "Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Clearinghouse at 1-800-363-3732." This offer is exclusively made directly to the public rather than to car manufacturers because, we are told, those big bad greedy corporate types would put owning this device "out of the reach of the average person." It is much better to allow greedy average people rip off each other in an MLM scheme,  where the opportunity to make over $80,000 a month is made available to each and every one of us by the kind founders of the Mileage Wizard ™. Or so they say.

Hiclone promises fuel savings of up to 20%, power increase of up to 15%, and hydro carbon emission reductions of up to 30% with prices from $160-$215 (Australian). They'll even sell you something called Fuelmax which "is a magnetic frequency resonator which clips onto the fuel line and 'fractures' the passing fuel, allowing it to mix with oxygen more readily and thus burn more efficiently." This should keep you laughing for up to ten minutes.


See related entries on multi-level marketing and  Slick 50.

further reading

reader comments

The Office of Mobile Sources is the national center for research and policy on air pollution from highway and off-highway motor vehicles and equipment. Of all their advice on how to reduce auto emissions, using the Inset Fuel Stabilizer is not one of them. You can write to them at the EPA National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory, 2565 Plymouth Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48105. Their phone number is (734) 214-4925 (Eastern Time Zone).

┬ęcopyright 2000
Robert Todd Carroll

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Last updated 12/05/00

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