Pulstar’s Pulse Plugs: Increasing fuel economy?

pulstar.gifThe print advertisement for Pulstar pulse plugs claims they are “an alternative to spark plugs that are scientifically proven to improve your car’s fuel economy.” Pulstar’s website states that the pulse plugs represent “the technological advancement in spark plug design in the past 100 years.” Rather big claims for a product that costs $25 a piece ($50 for a pair).
What is so different about Pulstar’s pulse plugs? According to Offroaders.com they use a pulse circuit that stores electrical energy from the ignition and then release that energy in a “powerful pulse of power.” The plugs deliver up to a million watts of peak power instead of the 50 watts that spark plugs deliver.

The website spark-plugs.org describes the plugs as increasing “fuel economy, horsepower and torque by burning fuel more efficiently.” It also claimed that the plugs reduce greenhouse gases “by as much as 10 percent, based on fuel-savings estimate.”
Still at $50 do they really improve fuel economy? To find out let’s see what reviewers think. Jerry Willis at
raves about the plugs:

We have since traveled 21,000 miles across the US with these plugs installed. Our fuel savings are remarkable! Since installing these plugs our average mileage is between 3 and 5 mpg greater. Our mileage dropped to 12.75mpg/ 13.25mpg during these times, which is a gain from our previously recorded mileage (without the plugs installed) of 9.35mpg/ 10.16mpg. However, we have plenty of power as we climb through the slopes. With the Pulstar plugs installed (@ apx 15.75mpg) we would have used 1524 gallons. The difference is 876 gallons. At an average of $2.96 per gallon we have saved $2592.96.

Greg Taylor at amcyclopedia.org also raves about the plugs:

I installed a set on Thursday in my 2000 Ford Focus SOHC 2.0L. Typical mileage on the car is 28-29 city and 31 highway. Best mileage ever was 33.5 & 34.3 on two tanks about 2 years ago, but not seen that since.

Daniel P. at sustainlane.com had a positive experience with the plugs after installing them in his Acura:

I have installed Pulstar pulse plugs in my 2000 Acura RL (95,000 miles) and amazingly they did what the manufacturer actually said they would…they increased my fuel economy nearly 6%. Not only that but my car performs better too.

Richard Mueller at amazon.com said his Subaru Outback as more “pick up” after he installed the plugs:

I installed the Pulstar plugs in my 2008 Subaru Outback. I had been getting 27 – 27.2 MPG. The plugs have about 700 miles on them and the MPG has increased to 28.5 under the same conditions. The instructions say that you should give it a couple of tanks of gas before the computer recognizes the plugs and appears that this is true. The car seems to have more “Pick Up”. At the present MPG it will take about 15000 miles before pay back is achieved.

Another amazon.com reviewer, David Griffeth, did not have a good experience with the plugs:

I put these plugs in and my Honda Ridgeline barely ran. I followed all the instructions, unplugged the battery to reset the computer, properly gaped them etc. I ended up putting my old plugs back in and shipping them back. There were no issues returning them and being refunded.

A reviewer at autopartswarehouse.com wrote that his vehicle did not have better fuel economy:

“My butt dyno says a slight increase in power and the quick starts and smooth idle are nice too. I haven’t seen the better fuel economy yet, but it’s still early. Down side is that I broke two of these things installing them, and at $25 a piece.”

If you have installed Pulsestar’s pulse plugs, has your vehicle’s fuel economy improved? Or has there been no improvement? Let us know about your experience with the plugs by leaving comments.

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.

17 responses

  1. I put pulse plugs in my 2007 Toyota Matrix. I’m on my 3rd tank of gas since changing. The engine feels spunkier and I’m seeing fuel economy increase by at least 2 mpg! I’ve gotten the best gas mileage yet in combined driving matching my best highway gas mileage before changing!

  2. IT’S ALL HYPE. No increase in HP or mpg. It’s about as revolutionary as the Tornado or Fuel Magnets. Don’t waste $100-$200. on these. They aren’t any better than the Denso Iridiums now in my 2002 Aerio.

  3. For the automotive enthusiast looking for additional power, if you are going to be spending 100+ dollars on spark plugs, I would just suggest, getting a conservative dry Nos system, that your fuel system and engine can handle, nothing wild, use a OEM MFG plug with a colder heat range if so indicated and enjoy a true and proven way of gaining HP reliably and safely if you follow the instructions and don’t over do it on a stock engine and you will really be much happier than spending your money on spark plugs with what looks like inline capacitors. If NOS isn’t for you, go with an ICE, Jacobs, or MSD ignition for the same money if not a little more depending on the system and that is another proven technique that is better, and that While I have built my share of engines and I have worked in the biofuel industry, regardless of how much spark you have, if you don’t have the oxygen to combust with the fuel present it won’t matter how strong your flame is, now if you have a stock Turbo vehicle and are increasing boost settings, or have changed your cam, compression and lift, maybe it’s worth it to you, but I wouldn’t want to put a plug that fragile in a High boost, or High Compression engine.
    I have worked with Inernal combustion engines for a long time, and honestly OEM equipment is rigorously engineered for each vehicle and while improvements may be made in certain areas, I honestly have never had a fancy plug with the exception of Iridiums (lasted longer and actually did reduce emissions after I changed to them after my CA pretest, while not exactly scientific, they are also stock in my Acura.) do magic or work better for me, I have changed heat ranges in Turbocharged engines, and noticed better response at higher RPMs and ability to increase boost in small increments, other than that shorty header plugs that are kept away from the headers, this helps because they don’t suffer from heatsoak. Anyhow, I could go on and on and on about this but, look at the facts and the history about what works and make the informed decision for yourself and your wallet.

  4. “IT’S ALL HYPE. No increase in HP or mpg. It’s about as revolutionary as the Tornado or Fuel Magnets. Don’t waste $100-$200. on these. They aren’t any better than the Denso Iridiums now in my 2002 Aerio.”
    You make no mention if you’ve used Pulse Plugs. What are you basing your facts on? The Tornado and Fuel Magnets are no way similar. This is ignition. Read beofre you write.

  5. I know enough about electrical circuits to say that these plugs are nothing more than hype. Capacitors have charge time, its impossible for this spark plug to hold enough capacitance in such a small area of around 40,000 volts. The best thing it COULD have is a solid core design so no resistance would interfere with the spark energy attempting to jump the gap in the combustion chamber. I would add capacitance @ the entry point to the primary ignition coil FIRST before dropping cash on a useless product. This sparkplug cannot generate any more power than what it is given, law of energy conservation people, stop being stupid.
    Grounding kits are also hype, and complete trash, To increase the ability of your electrical system simply add capacitance to it or upgauge the wires needed for more current. Also checking to ensure that your electrical connections are not corroded is the best way to ensure maximum performance from your electrical system. Another thing is stupid ricers get optima red top batterys like idiots when a 800CCA energizer is 1/3rd the cost.

  6. Dear Marshall,
    While I agree with everything you said,
    I impolore you to fall short on your bashing of the optima battery series. As for your knowledge of electrical circuits surely you know the fact that Optima is a deep cycle battery where as your normal and even high end batteries for cars are not (for those who dont know the difference a deep sysle may be completely discharged and recharged with out damage to the battery a signifigant number of times, where as most normal batteries are suspect to fail after a complete discharge usually once.) Now the reason “those stupid ricers” buy them is because most of them have advanced audio equipment that puts signifigant draw of the electrical system, and this is often done at car shows, when the car is not on. As we know this means the alternator is not charging the battery. Therefore having a battery that is deep cycling, it makes life alot easier in the case of a total discharge. Secondly, Optima batteries are designed to be able to operate at not just the normal standing position, but each cell is specially packed in order to allow the battery to be mounted sideways, or even upside down. This may not seem practical to you , but ask a pro drifter about it and they will tell you hom much they love this life saving device.
    Lastly, Since your such an electrical genius, you would surly understand the benfiets of properly grounding a vechile system out as opposed to the sometimes erractic psuedo grounds that the manufactors use. Of course they ground them safely, but it doesnt mean they are ground the most efficiently. A $75 GOOD grounding system does what ideally the factory would, and does a true ground, preventing any changes in current throughout the vehicles entire electrical system. How does this help performance, first of all it take any unneccessary load off electrical components. Second it stablized the voltage being sent to the spark plugs, meaning you get exactly the same voltage, on each plug wire, every cycle. This can lead to a 1-10 whp gain (speaking on the cars model, obviously an 4 cyclinder Honda fit would see about 1 as a 6 cyclinder r35 gt-r would probably see over the stated 10whp) because the spark is consistant. It also means proper burn of the fuel in the cyclinder each and everytime, meaning lower emmissions, stronger burn.
    Dont be so simple about it.
    they exist for a reason. Everyone down played Electric turbos too until thomas knight produced a 10psi one capable of doubleing power.

  7. To the person above.
    Marshall is referring to the RED TOP battery, which is NOT deep cycle. The audio people use the Yellow-Top, which is a deep cycle.
    On another note, I personally use the red top because it is sealed. I had nothing but problems with my older batteries when doing auto-x (acid spilling out); the sealed battery fixed this.

  8. Marshall,
    It is entirely possible (even plausible) that these plugs do exactly what they are said to do. A capacitor does not necessarily need to be large physically in order to have a large voltage across it. It would be a function of how resistant the dielectric was to breaking down at high voltages. Your argument of conservation of energy is a foolish one. If you knew electrical circuits (or components as it were) as you claimed, you would know that a capacitor needs to be large to store large amounts of electrical ENERGY or to have slower discharge times, not to store and quickly discharge minute quantities of energy at high potentials. What I’m sure the pulse plugs are designed to do is have a large voltage instantaneously built up accross the capacitor and then very quickly discharged. This creates an extremely brief, extremely high power PULSE. Anyone who knows their electrical theory would explain to you that a simple integration of the power dissipated with respect to time of this ‘pulse’ gives the energy dissipated (which in all likelyhood, would be very similar to that of a conventional plug). The difference between the two plugs would be the violence and duration of the spark.

  9. to everyone above…. i am just going to simply say , that i have a set in my 06 malibu with a 3.5 L V6 , my nephew put a set in his 93 eagle talon tsi awd , and my best friend put a set in his 4 cylinder ford escape…. all kidding aside , my malibu jumped about 4.5 mpg on average , my buds escape jumped 4 mpg on average , and my nephews talon tsi awd jumped a whopping 8.5 mpg… we all noticed an increase in power and acceleration as well…..  3 completely different vehicle types , 3 different drivers , and 2 different climates…. my nephew and i live in western new york… while my best friend lives outside of dallas…. for all three of us to see basicly the same difference in the 3 vehicles listed above , considering all the variables , they just plain work… i have been in the automotive industry most of my life…. so has my nephew and my best friend….. we are all TRUE car guys and race fanatics…..The plugs work , and my nephew and i have actually seen it real world….. his talon dropped over a half a second in the eighth mile drag and my malibu dropped almost an exact half second…..combined with my mpg increase , these plugs were worth every penny….here we are some 30,000 miles later , and the car is still purring like a kitten….for those of you who doubt or bash these plugs…… you are just wrong , to keep things polite…. i have personally seen to much edvidence prooving that these plugs actually do work…. in several different vehicles…. with several different drivers….. in completely different climates…..nuff said……

    1. so you are stating that your vehicles drop a half of a second in the 1/8mile with exact same temperatures, humidity and sea levels (same day?) compared to what a standard plug? so what are the 1/8 mile times? I mean if you are talking about going from a 14.5 to a 14 well dang taking a hefty dump will do that…. I had my doubts but this statement shows the HYPE!!!!

  10. From what i’ve read, I wouldn’t mind giving them a try, considering all the negative comments below are based on theory, and the positive ones are based on experience, I see no reason not to.

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