The Ethanol Papers - Paperturn manuscript - Flipbook - Page 217
From your perspective, Granddad, this would have left you in the same situation
of not getting 100% gasoline for your 100 cent dollar bills. You were buying
gasoline plus tetraethyl lead and ethylene bromide.
There was a worrisome issue with tetra-ethyl lead: it's poison. Handling it or just
inhaling it could kill humans...and it did. GM and their fuel partner (Standard Oil,
aka Exxon/Mobil) tried very hard to hide this fact from the public. They were
successful for decades. It was like how the tobacco industry paid off politicians
and doctors to hide the health dangers of smoking and chewing tobacco.
Eventually, the public and some politicians woke up and began to make
changes. Tetra-ethyl lead had to be eliminated from gasoline, but then the
knock problem would re-emerge. The oil industry could have chosen to use
ethanol in place of the lead since Prohibition had been overturned long ago.
The oil industry didn't like this idea because they were worried that people would
remember that ethanol is inherently a better fuel. Also, the oil industry doesn't
control alcohol production, so they would have to share some of the profits.
Consequently, the oil industry introduced their idea of a good solution: gasoline
with MTBE. MTBE is basically a substance that mimics ethanol's anti-knock
characteristics. The oil industry used their financial muscle to get politicians and
auto manufacturers to accept this new fuel. However, MTBE proved to be almost as bad as tetraethyl-lead, so it had to go.
By the way Granddad, this meant that you were again not getting 100% gasoline for your 100 cent dollar bills.
So we finally came full circle and oil producers only had one alternative that was
safe to humans and could be used safely in modern high-compression engines.
That solution is ethanol.
For some reason, Granddad, no one explained all this to you. You were deceived by the oil industry. To make matters worse, they continued to deceive
you by feeding you lies about ethanol. You think that you should be getting
100% of something that you wouldn't want to use if you could get it. Moreover,
ethanol doesn't "water down" gasoline, that's not what happens. Ethanol also
doesn't dilute the effectiveness of gasoline (if that's your meaning) because the
addition of ethanol to gasoline raises the overall octane, unless the oil refiners
purposely choose to dumb down the gasoline's octane - which they do in the
hopes that you will have an inferior experience using the ethanol-gasoline