News briefs

News briefs

November 19, 1990


As gasoline prices increase, consumers are looking for ways to increase gas mileage and spend less at the pump. But as prices go up, the Better Business Bureau warns county residents that scam artists of the late 1970s are reappearing with gas saving devices that do not work.

Among the products commonly advertised as gas savers are devices that attach to a car's positive crankcase ventilation line or carburetor and additives put directly into the gas tank. The list includes such things as special valves, replacement distributor rotors, air jets, magnets, pre-agitators, hydrocatalysts, "miracle" spark plugs, pellet or liquefied additives, and foam or liquefied injector systems.

The Environmental Protection Agency has tested many of these gadgets and with few exceptions found little improvement in gas mileage. In fact, others actually increased gas consumption or required illegal changes to a car's emission control system.

Many of the claims for these products are exaggerated or misleading.

Data offered to substantiate the claims is often inaccurate, outdated or otherwise insufficient. In short, the large majority of the products do not provide enough improvement in miles per gallon to justify the cost of purchase and installation.

If you want to improve your car's fuel economy, follow these well-documented energy savings tips:

* Check tire pressure frequently;

* Keep your engine well tuned;

* Accelerate smoothly and avoid quick starts and stops.


The Community Development Administration, a division of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, has been named the 1990 winner of a Special Housing Needs competition among state housing finance agencies across the nation.

CDA's Group Home Acquisition Program was recognized with an engraved plaque from the National Council of State Housing Agencies at its annual conference recently in Atlanta. The award gives special recognition to state housing finance agencies involved with outstanding public purpose programs and projects.

CDA's Group Home Acquisition Program took top honors out of 21 entries in the Special Housing Needs category. A video highlighting four of Maryland's group homes was part of the winning entry.

GHAP provides loans to non-profit organizations and individuals to construct, to acquire and rehabilitate existing housing to serve as group homes and temporary or emergency shelters for low-income persons and households with special housing needs.

The state's group homes serve the physically or mentally handicapped, the homeless, the frail elderly, in addition to AIDS babies.


With cold weather right around the corner, Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. reminds county residents that now is the time to winterize your home so you can stay warm and control your utility bill. Although individual energy requirements vary widely according to appliance ownership, use and weather, there are some tips that all consumers can take advantage of to help reduce energy costs.

* Winterize your home. Caulk or weatherstrip cracks around the edges of doors and windows and use clear plastic window insulation kits to keep heat from escaping. Insulate your attic as well as your hot water heater. Check your heating system frequently and clean or replace furnace filters once a month.

* Control your thermostat and use the warm room concept. Keep one room warm, with an electric space heater, while letting the rest of the house stay at a lower temperature. This saves heating energy and cuts costs.

Every degree above 68 Fahrenheit uses 3 percent more energy. A temperature of 68 degrees, or lower, can be comfortable unless there is a sick or elderly person or an infant in the home. Remember, space heaters are efficient only as a supplemental source, not a primary source of heat.

* Close doors to garages, attics and any other unheated areas.

* Close draperies at night and open during the day on the sunny side of your home to take advantage of the winter sun's warmth.

* Keep the fireplace damper closed when not in use.

These and other energy-saving tips are available in a free brochure, "Tips On Using Energy Wisely." Call BG&E's Marketing and Energy Services Department at 1-800-666-5183 or stop by your local BG&E store for a copy.

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