Dear Mr. Alice:
You recently mentioned the "urban legend" of a 200-mpg carburetor. [Enclosed] is an article from the September 1953 issue of Cars magazine, giving quite a bit of detail on the legendary carburetor, aspects of which were patented from 1928-36 in both the U.S. and Canada.... The least true portion of most legends about great automotive inventions is that the big auto companies bought up the inventions and suppressed them. I can think of several other inventions that were simply ignored to death....
-- Niel Lynch, Escondido
The article's author interviews Charles Nelson Pogue, Montreal automotive engineer, said to have invented a 200-mpg carburetor. The Pogue carb is one of the gizmos that started all the urban legends. The prickly inventor was less than candid with the writer and finally booted him out of his shop, after implying that he'd suffered everything from rude treatment by the U.S. government to death threats from people he wouldn't name ever since he invented the thing. Pogue's carb preheated the gas, vaporized it, and sucked in only the vapors to be mixed with air and ignited. Unburned fuel was recycled through the system. The result was remarkable mileage -- at least 200 per Imperial gallon (1.2 American gallons) according to news articles and tech magazines, and in driver testimonials.
The irritable Mr. Pogue ran his own car for ten years with his mighty carb but refused to divulge his mileage to the reporter. He did say that he had never claimed his carb would get 200 miles per gallon "or even half of that," declaring all such numbers "violently distorted by newspapermen and magazine writers." The invention faded away, he said, because of wartime disruptions in materials and distribution and general lack of cooperation from "government officials" with a lot of oil stock. No Pogue carbs exist today, but the 1953 article contains detailed schematics showing how it operated.