KJ Jones Senior Technical Editor
January 1, 2010

Despite the hope and optimism for our nation to make a strong economic recovery at some point in the near future, the truth of the matter is that many of us still have penny-pinching lives right now. There's absolutely nothing wrong with plugging a tighter notch on our fiscal belts for the sake of the economy. However, for those who live and die by going out and buying the latest, greatest whiz-bang gear for their 'Stangs, the no-spending handcuffs sometimes feel like they're taking our wrists completely off!

Now, on the other side of the want-versus-need spectrum, an automotive product we really can't do without is fuel-more specifically, pump gasoline comes to the forefront as the single most important commodity that 'Stangbangers have to spend their dough on (no matter how high the price). Car owners have been seeking plausible methods for saving money at the pump. However, the catch-22 is that stepping down to 87-octane means performance generally suffers. This is especially true of the Three-Valve, 4.6-liter V-8s that are found under the hood of '05-present Mustang GTs, as they are tuned to take advantage of octane.

What if you could burn your 87-octane fuel and have your performance too?

When it comes to late-model Mustangs (and even pre-'05 ponies, for that matter), Matt Snow definitely knows a thing or two about gaining performance, not losing it. Matt's company, Snow Performance, makes the popular and effective Boost Cooler water-methanol-injection systems that (when combined with California's 91-octane pump gas) help create more horsepower and torque by increasing the weak fuel's octane, thus allowing for more timing advance, as well as by cooling the charge of turbo- or blower-boosted air. Lowering the temperature of the air charge slows the burn rate of an engine's air/fuel mixture, and ultimately makes using higher boost on pump gas possible without fear of experiencing engine-damaging detonation.

With all that said, you're probably wondering what role, if any, water-meth can play in the fuel-economy equation. Matt wondered the same thing and conducted a study to determine just that, using a naturally aspirated '07 Mustang Shelby GT. His primary mission for the test was to create a way to achieve maximum power through aggressive timing, with 87-octane, regular-unleaded pump gas and see if it's possible to save at least $0.20 per gallon. He conducted his research using 91-octane premium for baseline, and also the less-expensive, regular-unleaded petro. It included capturing not only performance data, but fuel-mileage details delivered by Snow's all-new MPG-MAX G Boost Cooler (PN 20150; $699) on both the dyno's rollers and in real-world road testing.

Matt and engineers at Snow Performance developed a water-meth kit for naturally aspirated and boosted gas engines that relies on an all-new fuel-injector-referenced injection-management controller, which activates a small, steady spray of water-methanol that covers the entire power curve. The controlled water-meth shot increases the efficiency of the combustion process, and therefore promotes more power without requiring additional fuel that normally would act as a cooling agent. The increased efficiency yields improved fuel economy. However, on the power side of the equation, the MPG-MAX G system also includes an independently mapped, fully adjustable second stage of water-meth injection. The second hit uses a larger (orifice size) nozzle to inject more fluid and make more power.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery