His car got 463 MPG and ran on fumes
Front page news:
October 9, 2007
If John Weston of Port Charlotte can get investors to take his gas-saving invention to the global automotive market, it just might solve the problems of smog, global warming and the high cost of foreign oil. It also might prove that human potential is not limited by education or socioeconomic status.
Weston, 48, who dropped out of high school as a 10th-grader but later achieved a GED, claims to have invented a device that can turn virtually any car into a gas-miser that can run as far as 500 miles on a single gallon.
Called the Air Vapor Flow System, or AVFS, the device functions by vaporizing gasoline before it gets inducted into the engine. That saves fuel and reduces pollution because it allows the engine to burn more of the fuel that gets sucked into the combustion chamber, he contends. The device works on small, industrial engines or larger automobile engines regardless of whether they have carburetors or fuel injection systems, according to Weston.
Weston has been working to bring a prototype of the invention into more advanced development since the late 1990s. After encountering some financial difficulties in recent months, Weston is now renewing efforts to find investors.
. . .
“My setback has always been financial,” Weston said. “That’s why I’m totally open to sponsors, investors or purchasers.” [see Reg Tech Inc. below]
A small, plastic tank
The device consists of a small, plastic tank that gets mounted under the hood of a car. Some hoses from the engine’s air intake housing are run to the top of the tank so that the engine draws in vapors from above the level of the liquid gasoline.
In an impromptu demonstration conducted for this reporter last week, Weston installed one of the devices into his battered 1992 Geo Storm. Weston’s car ran well on the vapors from the device when the level of the liquid in the tank was within a certain margin. The engine ran either too rich or too lean when the level was above or below that margin. The car traveled 14.8 miles on about 4 ounces of gasoline during the test. If accurate, that would amount to about 473 miles per gallon.
Weston’s neighbor, retired construction contractor William “Pops” Gavel, said he witnessed an even more dramatic experiment conducted by Weston. Gavel said he rode as passenger in Weston’s car for 28.7 miles — from Weston’s house to a location in Englewood — on just 4 ounces of Coleman camping fuel, or white gas. If accurate, that rate would be equivalent to 918 miles per gallon. Gavel said he watched Weston pour the 4 ounces into the tank and checked the mileage on the odometer himself.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Gavel. “I said, ‘Wire me up!’ I’ve got a Ford V-8 whacking down a gallon every 17 miles and I thought, gee, I could drive all day with that kind of mileage.”
still, very crude, manual, operation
To operate the engine, once the fuel level dropped below its optimal margin, Weston briefly triggered a home-made switch 15 times. That pumped in additional fuel from his car’s regular fuel tank. The switch was made from a lamp cord. It was triggered by pushing the two prongs of the plug together for a split second. After the test, Weston estimated the amount of gasoline consumed by measuring the amount of gasoline that was added from his car’s regular fuel tank. To do that, he again triggered the homemade switch 15 times, this time pumping fuel into a measuring cup. The fuel measured 4 ounces.
“Right now, it’s looking like a Mickey-Mouse backyard setup, but regardless of the way it looks, it functions,” he said.
Also yet to be perfected are ways to maintain the level of liquid fuel in the vapor tank, and a way to adjust the mix of air and vapor while driving.
Weston recently tested one of his AVFS tanks on a gasoline-powered utility generator. Without the device, the generator ran for 3.5 hours. With the device, it ran for 14 hours on the same amount of fuel, he said. [a 400% improvement]
School of hard knocks
Hailing from Connersville, Ind., Weston attended 23 schools in 10 grades before dropping out. He explained his father, a construction worker, moved the family often, in both Indiana and Florida. “I could not afford to take vehicles in to get repaired,” he recalled. “I could afford only to buy a Chilton’s manual and repair them myself.”
After working as a welder on oil rigs off Louisiana, he returned to Indiana to care for his ailing mother.
The breakthrough came after Weston, who routinely smokes cigarettes while working on his engines, needed to peer into the gas tank of a lawn mower engine. It was dark in the tank.
“I didn’t have a flashlight at the time, so I used a lighter,” he recalled.
Suddenly, a blast of flame blew out of the tank. Weston immediately realized the potential.
“I said, ‘Wow, let me try this,'” he said.
Weston grabbed a piece of tailpipe and stuck one into a carburetor and the other into a five-gallon gas can. The engine ran for a few moments on the vapors from the can, he said.
In 1996, a school teacher in his hometown invested $12,000 to help Weston fashion a working prototype. The teacher, Edward Slaybaugh of Connserville, Ind., said he considered the invention “the greatest boon this century.” “I hope some good comes of it,” Slaybaugh said Friday.