In past few months, I have used Acetone as a fuel additive in my motorcycle (Bajaj Pulsar 180) for over 1,000kms and I think it is time I share my experience with it.
However before I share my experience with you, let me tell you what Acetone is:
Acetone (also known as propanone, dimethyl ketone, 2-propanone, propan-2-one and Î²-ketopropane) is a colorless, mobile, flammable liquid. It is the simplest example of the ketones. Acetone is miscible with water, ethanol, ether, etc., and itself serves as an important solvent. The most familiar household use of acetone is as the active ingredient in nail polish remover. Acetone is also used to make plastic, fibers, drugs, and other chemicals. In addition to being manufactured as a chemical, acetone is also found naturally in the environment, including in small amounts in the human body.
Now you must be wondering, why the hell am I mixing nail polish remover in petrol?
Well there are quite a few people out there (link), who claim mixing Acetone with petrol, not only improves mileage but also increases power.
Sounds like a wonder medicine for your car/bike?
Well I thought so too and decided to put it to test and here is what I found:
I went to the local chemist and bought a 100ml bottle of non-medicinal Acetone for Rs. 36. Since I was planning to use 2 ml of Acetone for every liter of petrol, cost per liter would come out to be 72 paisa (1.8 cents). This works out to be almost similar to the difference between normal and additive mixed petrol from state oil companies.
The first time I used acetone in my motorcycle, I was quite impressed with how smooth the engine had become, especially below 5,000rpm. Power delivery seemed a bit more liner and revving the motorcycle seemed a little effortless but only under 5,000rpm, after which the effects were minute to none.
This was one area where I had expected a gain from Acetone, especially since its proponents are promoting it as a fuel additive to increase fuel economy.
While I could only check fuel economy for less than 500kms out of the 1,000km test, I found it to be slightly less than what I normally get on my trips. During my crazy Himalayan ride, I was using Acetone mixed petrol for roughly 500 kms and fuel economy at the end of the 780km ride was less than 40 kmpl!
This is despite the fact that almost 500kms were clocked on the highway and majority of the time I was riding below 80kmph, with only a single 100+kmph short bust. While I did do a bit of off road riding and did clock 30% of my mileage in hills. Riding conservatively, I normally get better mileage than this and with Acetone it should have been better.
In fact in 2005, with ~25 kg luggage on board, my motorcycle had achieved 45+ kmpl fuel economy between Delhi – Manali. Even on the Ladakh 2007 ride, the fuel economy hovered around 40.5kmpl mark and that too with 30+ kg of luggage and on this ride; I was carrying less than 10Kg luggage!
No noticeable improvement in power was observed, though like I said earlier, bike did feel smoother and liner at less than 5,000rpm.
So far I havenâ€™t noticed any side effects and I am praying there are none.
While Acetone is relatively cheap to use as a petrol additive, it doesnâ€™t seem to provide any real benefits. In fact even if you gain slightly better mileage, it is likely to be offset by the extra cost of adding Acetone. However if like me you get slight less mileage, it is not only apparent that you have wasted your money, it also means that your automobileâ€™s operating efficiency has gone down!
At the end of it all, I think Iâ€™ll stick to the routine of filling additive mixed premium petrol after every two tank full. Which I feel keeps the carburetor clean and helps keep the engine healthy.