There’s a secret history regarding alcohol that you won’t hear on the six o’clock news:
- Cars and everything else running on internal combustion engines can run on alcohol at least as well as they can run on gasoline. Indeed, engines were built back in 1870 that could run using either alcohol or gasoline
“Autoists Discuss Alcohol As Fuel; Great Future Ahead For Use In Commercial Wagons, Says Prof. Lucke. Tests With Motor Truck E.R. Hewitt Tells Engineers Of His Results With Gasoline And Alcohol In Same Engine”
- Henry Ford said that alcohol was “a cleaner, nicer, better fuel for automobiles than gasoline” (James Brough, The Ford Dynasty: An American Story, p. 118, and cited in “Ford – The Men and the Machine”, p. 365). The Model T Ford had a knob right on the dashboard to adjust the fuel-air mixture for either alcohol or gas
- Alcohol does not corrode or shorten the lifespan of modern cars, and an inexpensive adjustment to regular cars will make them run smoothly and inexpensively on alcohol
So if alcohol can provide a cheaper and better fuel than alcohol, why doesn’t anyone talk about it today?
Well, John D. Rockefeller, under the ruse of Christian temperance, gave 4 million dollars to a group of old ladies and told them to fight for Prohibition (they successfully used the money to buy off Congress). Why? Rockefeller owned Standard Oil, the main company pushing gas as an alternative fuel to alcohol. By getting Congress to pass Prohibition laws, Rockefeller eliminated his competition. And see this.
In order to crush alcohol-makers out of existence, Rockefeller donated $350,323.67 to the Anti-Saloon League (worth $5 million in 2010 dollars) in the two decades before the passing of Prohibition. The ASL, along with Rockefeller’s public moral support and private backroom dealing with legislators, was enormously effective in influencing the public and Congress to pass the deal.
During these same years, a journalist/crusader named Ida Tarbell was waging a war against Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Trust, revealing it to be a monopoly in the worst way, with bribery, price-fixing and corrupt tactics as the tricks of the trade that Standard Oil used to crush or buy out all their competitors. The documents that Tarbell was able to publish were successful in destroying the monopoly by 1911, meanwhile revealing Rockefeller to be hardly a political progressive – the wanton abuse of employee rights and consumer fairness plus multiple instances of illegal coercion were testaments to a personal character miles from that of a Boy Scout.
Ironically, the breakup of the Standard Oil Trust had the curious effect of making him the richest man in the world. Stock prices doubled for all the companies that were spun off from the Trust, and made Rockefeller that much richer than before. The reduction in price-fixing meant prices became more affordable for consumers and thus there was incentive for consumers and car producers to adopt gasoline-powered automobiles over alcohol-powered ones. But this wasn’t enough, as the constant availability of alcohol meant it wouldn’t be enough to effect any sea change in consumer habits. Thus, Prohibition.
By making the manufacture, transportation and sale of alcohol illegal, this meant that farmers could no longer generate ethanol and other similar alcohols for vehicle use, and even if they had a pre-existent supply, could not legally sell it. This destroyed any possibility that alcohol could continue as a fuel of choice, neither for the fuel-sellers, automobile purchasers or automobile producers. Rather quickly, the alcohol-powered models were phased out and gasoline-powered vehicles became the standard.
Even more beneficial was the fact that 1918-1933 were the boom years for the expansion of the automobile to all regions of the country. With one fuel standard and the mass explosion in automobile sales, Rockefeller’s companies had little to no competition in fuel sales and was making money hand over fist. By the time Prohibition was repealed in 1933, there was no turning back to alcohol fuels.
As alcohol fuels were generally cheaper than oil fuels, the American public ended up paying dearly for the change. All the money they ‘lost’ was funneled into Rockefeller’s hands, maintaining his status as richest man in the world – which persists even to this day. Barring Marcus Licinius Crassus, whose properties covered the entire Roman Empire during his time and is unestimable as to current worth, Rockefeller is considered the richest man ever. In 1916, he was the first man to reach a personal fortune of $1 billion, and his personal worth at his death, adjusted to 2010 dollars, is estimated to have been somewhere in the range of $500 to $600 billion.
Adding insult to injury, Prohibition increased the amount of crime in the United States to hitherto unknown levels, created new miseries for the average citizen and actually helped reverse industrialization during the period by shutting down hundreds of large-scale plants around the United States, increasing unemployment and encouraging home-made primitive methods of alcohol production. Rockefeller may have felt guilty at these outcomes by 1932, when he finally admitted to Prohibition’s failure and openly approved of Repeal.
Moreover, those in the know actually are using alcohol as a fuel today. For example, there are many millions of cars being driven in Brazil that run on alcohol.
And many government and car fleets are actually required to be able to run on either alcohol or gas. The car companies simply forgot to tell the American consumer that these kind of cars are available. See this and this.
But Food Costs are Already Too High Because of the @#$_%! Ethanol Subsidies, Right?
My first reaction when I heard that cars and other machines could run on alcohol was that this was a really bad idea. Specifically, as everyone knows, all of the ethanol subsidies have caused many acres of farmland which used to grow a variety of food crops to all be put into corn for use in ethanol. Food has already become astronomically expensive because of the darn ethanol subsidies, and so I would be totally opposed to anything which raises food prices further.
But the leading proponents of alcohol as fuel are not talking about corn. Corn is a lousy crop for making alcohol, and there are many other crops that are much more efficient. Indeed, the leaders in this field promote growing a wide variety of crops (appropriate for whatever specific climate you live in) , and many of the crops they suggest are also valuable food crops.
And you don’t even need to use plants . . . you can make alcohol fuel out of donuts.
Whole books have been written on this, but the bottom line is that using alcohol as an alternative to oil would actually drive down food prices, help enrich the soil, and have a lot of other benefits. (Again, ethanol subsidies are contributing to high food prices and destroying our economy because they are corrupt, too big, and done totally wrong, but not because of any inherent problems in using alcohol as fuel. Indeed, stopping all of the ethanol subsidies might be smart. I think we should stop any subsidies which raise food prices. While you’re at it, stop the multi-trillion dollar military expenditures in the Middle East, which are oil subsidies).
But How Does Alcohol Fight Fascism?
Fascism is the centralization of power (the word fascism comes from the “fascia”, a bundle of sticks wrapped around an axe, with the sticks representing the people all held together by the axe — the leader). Decentralization is the opposite of fascism. See this.
There would be no invasions of other countries to steal their booze. Since alcohol is so low-tech and easy to make, everyone can make their own fuel.
And anyone who doesn’t want to go to the time to make their own can just buy it from a local alcohol fuel farm or cooperative. When enough people learn that alcohol can run cars and other machinery cheaper and better than gas, alcohol production will spread everywhere, the price will drop even further, and it will be easy to buy in your own hometown.