After a year or so of Firepower’s high-profile promotion through multi-million dollar sports sponsorships, one authority is finally taking the obvious step of testing this most curious outfit’s miracle petrol pill.

The WA Department of Consumer and Employment Protection is to have the pill “tested by an appropriate authority” reports the SMH’s Gerard Ryle.

“The department is always concerned about extravagant claims made about the performance of products when those claims are not supported by anything other than testimonial evidence,” says Mike Johnson, manager of the department’s motor vehicles branch.

That could make for an interesting waiting period for the investors who have purchased shares in the unlisted Caribbean-registered concern. A negative test by the department could well make some of the sports stars wonder just what they’ve bought into.

It’s part of Firepower’s pitch to trot out the furphy that petrol companies aren’t interested in fuel economy. Against the shadowy and unexplained “science” claimed by Tim Johnston’s outfit, there’s the effort by the likes of Shell to squeeze another kilometre of two from a tank.

The method behind the Shell engine-cleaning formula might explain some improvement some punters allegedly perceive with Firepower’s diesel potion, particularly when used on old engines (Firepower’s professed preference). But there’s nothing to support the “greater atomisation” claim made by Firepower CEO John Finnin.

Ryle reports the WA department successfully prosecuted another “fuel pill” promoter in 2003 – a mob called Milestone Marketing.

“The last time this happened, we prosecuted people when it was found the pills weren’t as good as the claims it made,” said Mr Johnson.

We can only wait.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey