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Focus on clean and green claims about vehicle fuel saving and emission reducing devices and additives

Issue Date: Thursday, 13 March 2008

Consumer Protection is investigating a number of companies which are marketing products that claim to reduce fuel consumption and emissions in motor vehicles.

The Commissioner for Consumer Protection, Patrick Walker today announced that Consumer Protection had initiated investigations targeting companies, which sold these products that include pills, mechanical devices and additives.

The investigations aim to ensure that the promoters of products offering ‘green solutions’ in the motoring industry can justify their claims.

“The promotion of performance enhancing additives and devices claiming improved efficiencies that do not work is a matter of concern to us and consumers,” Mr. Walker said. 

“In recent years such products have been marketed with purported quality endorsements but investigation has found some claims to be spurious,” he said.
 
In late 2002 Consumer Protection successfully prosecuted Avned Holdings Pty Ltd, trading as Milestone Marketing for making misleading statements about the performance characteristics of a product called the Magic Pill.  It was claimed that the Magic Pill could reduce fuel consumption.

Fines of $21, 200 for breaches of the Fair Trading Act 1987 were imposed.
More recently Consumer Protection has been investigating claims made by Firepower about the Firepower Pill. The Commissioner said the investigation so far had raised some real concerns about the validity of claims made on the packaging of that Firepower made in support of the fuel saving and emission reducing properties of the Firepower Pill.

Product packaging claimed it ‘reduces emissions’, ‘saves on fuel’ and ‘improves fuel economy’.

“As a result of our approach to the company to have these claims substantiated the product has been withdrawn from outlets in Western Australia.

“A further investigation into claims made by HGK Australia, which has been promoting hydrogen gas kits, resulted in HGK agreeing to withdraw their products from sale in Western Australia pending the outcome of the investigation,” Mr. Walker said.

HGK failed to provide evidence supporting their claims and its website is now inoperative.

“In a clear warning to manufacturers and retailers alike we are sending a strong message that any ‘green’ marketing claims seeking to cash in on eco-consumerism will be closely monitored.

“Promoters of these products must be able to substantiate any claims they make in their advertising or on their websites.

“Members of the community that believe they have been enticed to purchase products that do not live up to their claims are encouraged to contact Consumer Protection,” the Commissioner said.