From Abracadabra to Zombies
reader comments: Inset Fuel Stabilizer
25 May 2009
Regarding the "Inset Fuel Stabilizer" (which appears to have been sold under the name "Vitalizer" and "Vitalizer III") I see the fraud is still being sold even though it clearly does not work (according to the EPA) and clearly CANNOT work based upon the seller's bullshit "theory of operation."
Why the bloody hell has the Federal Trade Commission not put the seller in prison for fraud?
reply: See Why Woo-woo wins.
On my YouTube channel I have taken the oxyhydrogen "MPG booster" morons to task, demanding they test their claims. I have offered a challenge (http://watercarchallenge.com) but trying to get these clowns to take it has proven impossible: they all turn into Uri Geller, throwing temper tantrums, insisting I'm a god-hating atheist (no, really), insist I'm an evil human being, insisting I am possessed by demons, and in one case one claimed I am not a human being.
Perhaps needless to say, my YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/Desertphile) has suffered from attacks by these clowns trying to have it shut down; one "HHO" promoter even filed a DMCA take-down notice against my intellectual property, which is against the law.
So far I have been unable to get any of the sellers and promoters of these "HHO" devices to step forward and have their device properly tested. Yet some of them claim an improvement in MPG of 80% and greater! If I had such a device I would demand the EPA and FTC and DoE test it--- it would make be wealthy beyond imagination. It is a vast mystery to me why these clowns refuse to have their devices tested, yet they are happy to sell them.....
Towards the goal of getting these people to test their claims, I have been writing to test facilities in the USA asking them if they will donate their time and facility to testing such devices if and when a seller / promoter steps forward to have the device tested. The University of California, Irvine, might be interested but that's just one facility and the sellers of these devices span the USA.
One thing I have
noticed many times from these "HHO booster" sellers and
promoters is that they behave exactly like "psychics" do, and
like Scientology customers do, and like "Moonies" and
Creationists do--- the behavior is exactly the same, right down
to (1) trying to shift the burden of proof onto the skeptics,
(2) insisting a global conspiracy against them, (3) claiming the
skeptics are evil minions gleefully in the employ of The Prince
of Darkness, (4) threatening frivolous civil tort, (5) throwing
temper tantrums when their claims are questioned.
reply: The only hope for reducing woo-woo fraud is education. We should be honest with our students and tell them that the law in a free society isn't equipped to handle these kinds of swindles. No high school student should graduate without being aware of the most common cons, the placebo effect, the post hoc fallacy, and dozens of other things. A little bit of instruction in critical thinking might provide a lot of protection. We should make it clear to our students that they can't rely on the media or the government to protect them from the many swindles awaiting them in the real world.
14 Nov 2008
Your site brought me back about 13 years to a subject that has been one of my favorite learning experiences in life. I am referring to the Inset Fuel Stabilizer [IFS]. I am primarily writing to give you some more background on this device, even though it seems to be ancient history at this point.
Back in 1995 (roughly), I was working directly under Marty Silvanage, [whose comments on the IFS are published below]. He sent a coworker (Mark) and me to report back on the demonstration at the gas station in Branchburg, New Jersey, that you mention in the article. At the time, Marty was involved with some 'inter-corporate environmentally friendly discussion group' and was looking at this device, though I think he was already skeptical. Bob Pearson of Inset was there, as well as a few other interested people like Mark and me. While Mark was more familiar with the technical end, my distinct impression of the experience was that Mr. Pearson was a 'snake oil salesman'. Aside from his general manner, one thing that I remember is a gentlemen asking technical questions. Mr. Pearson, while never directly answering the questions, seemed to almost attack this man over his questioning and opinions. It was as if Mr. Pearson was simply trying to discredit a stranger!
While Marty and your article probably tell as much as I could, I will just say that it was amazing to see how much can happen with a product that has never proven itself in any fashion. I don't think I have ever looked at or bought a 'new' product without having the Inset experience in the back of my mind. It should be a class on Fraud by itself!
reply: There has never been any proof of fraud regarding the IFS, as far as I know. Of course, there hasn't been any proof of fraud by any of those ubiquitous "life coaches" who tell you that happiness is free and you can achieve anything if you believe, but you can't do it alone or for nothing.
My recent interest was from my experiences in Pink Sheet stocks. If you aren't familiar with them, they are essentially un-regulated stocks. They still have legal requirements, and many are legitimate companies, just not large enough to list on the big trading floors... but there is very little monitoring and oversight. Inset would have definitely been listed there. As you mentioned in your article, Inset had some SEC issues back then. As I research Pink Sheet stocks and see arguments as to whether a company is legitimate or not, I wonder what a discussion amongst innocent investors would be now. Back then, there weren't 'Discussion Boards' much less websites dedicated to such activities. And this made me think of Inset again and I was trying to find something similar when I found your site. I will follow The Energy Group with great interest now.
reply: I've never heard of Pink Sheet stocks, but they sound like girlie men and are probably illegal in my home state of California.
Thanks again for the article and keeping such things on the record so others can still learn!
Michael B. Clark
12 Jul 2008
In your analysis, you quote and say:
"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"
Either the CO2 figure is a misprint, or you do indeed have an idea of how accurate the testing equipment was!
Keep up the good work, I read, learn and enjoy.
Sincerely, Maurice Taylor, Co Down, UK.
reply: Good point!
15 Dec 2003
I would like to correct your "incorrect" information on your comments and "accurate" information about the Inset Fuel Stabilizer...
I was never applied for a trademark, and was not invented by Mr Pearson [??]...also, of late, if you bothered to see the installation history and results from some well know installations such as:
Washington DC, General Hospital Complex (5 bldgs) Duke Energy East Chicago School System (buses and bldgs)
you will see that if something does not work, it shouldn't produce any positive results as all...get your facts straight as you are supposed to be in that profession.
Just a word from a man who deals in facts...all of the facts...
"Dr George" J Molteni (JD - PHD) / CEO * The Energy Group *
reply: It seems the Inset is back but is now called the "Fossil Fuel Stabilizer (FFS)." My guess is that the "new" device is just as effective as the Inset.
"Dr. George," as Molteni likes to refer to himself, is right that if something does not work it should not produce results. However, he is wrong in assuming that any results a test of his product produces proves his product works.
The tests must be set up properly, which in the case of this device would mean the same driver driving the car under exactly the same conditions, the same methods of measurement must be used, and so on. The test must be done several times on each of several vehicles. No significant differences between test vehicles can be allowed, e.g., getting a tune-up in between tests or using different grades of gasoline would invalidate the test.
The Energy Group pages are full of testimonials and some pictures of alleged applications, including on of some airplane engines that apparently were tested by Douglas C. Latia, an Associate Professor of Aviation Technology at Purdue University. I have written the professor for more details. He called me and left a message that he did do some work for The Energy Group. One significant difference between the FFS and the Inset is that The Energy Group folks make no claims about their device being able to align fuel and air molecules "in an energy field" so that they completely burn. In fact, I couldn't find anything on The Energy Group pages that explains how their magical devices work.
8 Dec 2003
Your review on the Inset Fuel Stabilizer was a very good read and hilarious! However, this product did not cease to exist and is currently being marketed/sold through Ffuelsaveco, or The Energy Group NJ (www.energy-group.com).
They are promoting the device in Europe, using the old Inset brochures with simply blacked-out Inset labels: replaced by "The Energy Group" or Ffuelsaveco. Recently I have been in contact with them (before reading your article), and they seem to be successful in installing the device on boilers of Chicago High Schools. Their promotion video shows interviews with the East Chicago High School officials praising the benefits of the FS... "savings of percentage". Interviews were shown of Mr. Ray Zabek of Budd Mechanical and Dr. John Flores of East Chicago Public Schools. They intend to place the FS in one of their schools!
How is this possible? Official organisations installing a device which the EPA concluded has no effect?
Looking forward to your reply.
With kind regards,
reply: What is it they say? There is no known limit to wishful thinking?
27 Oct 2000
In the case of the Fuel Atomizer, have you ever tried it? Have you purchased a unit and installed it?
reply: No, and I've never tried one of Alex Chiu's immortality rings, either. Have you?
18 Jul 2000
Back on 3/7/98 I wrote to you to mention that the EPA was about a month away from completing their testing of this toy. I guess it's not unusual for delays to occur, but it wasn't until sometime last year that the tests were completed. The results were just published on 7/13/00! I guess it was worth the wait. You had asked that I let you know when the report was available. Please refer to www.epa.gov/region2/air/inset.htm.
This has been a fascinating learning experience for me, as I followed the various developments, testimonials, lawsuits, absurd statements, etc. since 1993. It is simply amazing to explore the way people think! On many occasions, I wondered whether the supporters of this baloney honestly believed what they were saying, or were just pretending. Inset's lawyer told me they were sure the product worked because of the number of people who had put their faces next to the exhaust pipes on cars equipped with the device, sniffing for carbon monoxide or other pollution. He said "They couldn't smell nothin." Their sales rep in New Jersey was outraged at my suggestion in a letter to the editor of our newspaper. I knew she had problems with pollution in the well water at her home, so I suggested that she park her stabilizer-equipped vehicle over the well, in the hope that it would clear things up. (The president of Inset had told an audience at a product demonstration about an experiment in Texas where a container of water that was merely in the proximity of one of his devices had become decontaminated. He spoke of their plans to build very large stabilizers for water reservoirs. I was simply suggesting she try a method that was consistent with his claim, and I referred to this claim in my letter.) She replied with her own letter to the editor, accusing me of making a joke of a very serious matter. She completely ignored my reference to her own leader's claim. Inset's president told that same audience that dynamometer testing was not an accurate method of verifying his claims of increased horsepower, because "when you're dealing with a dyno, you're dealing with negative energy, and that energy disrupts anything that's positive". Seriously!!!
I really enjoy your Skeptic's Dictionary. Keep up the good work.
reply: And thank you for your persistence, Marty.
14 Sep 1997
Inset's current web site includes an article from "Trackside" magazine. The article contains a technical description of the device's (workings) at the molecular level from Mr. John Nacco, Inset's Executive Vice President. Nacco says the device removes the positive charge from the fuel molecules.
Back in 1995 Inset's President, Mr. Robert Pearson, told an audience at a product demonstration that the device worked by "stripping electrons".
Do you think this gizmo really "aligns fuel molecules" for improved
combustion, as these two guys claim? I might have an easier time believing
it if their stories weren't so misaligned.
23 Mar 1997
I came across your mention about a product called the Fuel Stabilizer
which someone thought might be the same as something they had seen
marketed as the Vitalizer. The Vitalizer is a legitimate product which
I have had installed on my Dodge Dakota pickup for the past eight
years. After 330,000 miles (yes I said 330,000) the truck has never
needed any engine work and still runs like new and gets about 20MPG,
about 2MPG more than it got when it was brand new before I installed the
Vitalizer. You can get details about this excellent device at http://www.vitalizer.com/
reply: You should write to the Vitalizer people, Larry. They could use your testimonial. On second thought, maybe you should contact the people at Dodge. Sounds like quite a truck.