I like to learn a thing or two every day, and today I learned a very interesting thing indeed.

Many people know that alcohol can be used as fuel for cars and farm equipment. It’s popular today in the guise of ethanol, but ethanol is largely a red herring. Ethanol is a ghost of what could have been had the Prohibition movement not killed alcohol fuel in its infancy.

Most people are not aware that Henry Ford’s Model T came in a variation that allowed the driver to switch the carburetor to run the engine on farm-made ethyl acohol [sic]. This allowed the operator to stop at local farms (equipped with stills) to refuel his/her car during long trips through the backcountry. After all- the gas station wasn’t exactly as ubiquitous in those days, as it is now. The Standard Oil Company and its industrialist-founder John D. Rockefeller wasn’t too happy with this arrangement. After all, Rockefeller’s company had a virtual monoploly on gasoline at this time in our nation’s development.

It kind of makes me wonder why we’re fighting an illegal war over oil in the desert, thousands of miles away, when we could probably retrofit our cars to run on domestically produced alcohol fuels (which does not have to be corn-based like ethanol).

Like William Randolph Hearst’s campaign against cannabis (marijuana), Rockefeller’s campaign against alcohol was ultimately successful… for him. Hearst and Rockefeller’s respective campaigns were horrible crimes perpetrated against America, the environment and truth, but both men were personally enriched through their scheming.

Since the late 1800′s there had been a growing Alcohol Temperance Movement developing among reformers. Rockefeller saw an opportunity in this. It is well-documented that local efforts to curb alcohol consumption were expanded to the national level when high-profile figures like Rockefeller joined in the anti-alcohol efforts. Was he so concerned with the social problems that abuse of alcohol was said to cause?

No… John D. Rockefeller was not concerned with family dynamics in the working classes. But he was influential in changing the goals of the movement from temperance to prohibition. As we know, his contribution to the outlawing of the production and sale of alcohol was successful. Of course, Rockefeller and the oil companies reaped tremendous profits as a result. Remember that the period covered by the 18th Amendment (1919-1933) coincided with the huge rise in the sale and operation of automobiles. America was on the move, and all of these cars were now operated solely on gasoline. By the time that the 21st Amendment was passed, ending the prohibition of alcohol, the standard was already set and worked completely in the favor of the Rockefeller family.

While this is an excellent example of a conspiracy against the American people that is both provable and successful, there is one problem with calling it a conspiracy: Conspiracies require illegal acts, and lying to the American people is not necessarily illegal. Unethical, yes, but unless you were personally slandered there’s no chance of legal recourse against such conspiratorial campaigns.

In the end, this is an example of how rich men can ride roughshod over the Constitution and the democratic process and there’s not a damn thing anybody can do about it.


 

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25 Responses to “John D. Rockefeller & Alcohol Prohibition”

  1. McG says:

    Wow. Who would’ve thunk that at one time you could run your car on grain alcohol? With the corn ethanol controversy rising, it’s surprising that more people aren’t talking about other homegrown methods of producing fuel. One option is switchgrass based ethanol, aka cellulosic ethanol, which is roughly 5 times more energy efficient that corn ethanol, doesn’t cost a bundle to produce and doesn’t emit the green house gas carbon dioxide that the corn crop exudes. This is one of the most fascinating issues taking place today and will certainly have huge repercussions as to how we travel and live in the future. < HREF="http://theissue.com" REL="nofollow">The Issue<> recently did a feature of the day on Corn Ethanol, as well as the economics of buying a hybrid car. Very interesting and insightful for those interested.Cheers,MikeThe Issue | < HREF="http://theissue.com" REL="nofollow">The Issue<>

  2. fallout11 says:

    Carbon dioxide is a simple byproduct of combustion, no matter which fuel is used, and ethanol from any source is still the same ethanol (C2-H5-OH). Basic organic chemistry 101, mate.In fact, burning ethanol instead of gasoline actually produces MORE carbon dioxide, per mile driven, than gasoline, as ethanol (30MJ/kg) contains significantly less energy per unit mass (aka energy density) than gasoline (46.9MJ/kg) [Source: Wikipedia].Thus, to go the same distance, one must burn more ethanol (by mass) to get the same energy output, producing more carbon, which in turn binds chemically to oxygen and create CO2 (and CO, and water vapor).Consider actually doing your homework before making random, spurious, and inaccurate claims.

  3. fallout11 says:

    Carbon dioxide is a simple byproduct of combustion, no matter which fuel is used, and ethanol from any source is still the same ethanol (C2-H5-OH). Basic organic chemistry 101, mate.In fact, burning ethanol instead of gasoline actually produces MORE carbon dioxide, per mile driven, than gasoline, as ethanol (30MJ/kg) contains significantly less energy per unit mass (aka energy density) than gasoline (46.9MJ/kg) [Source: Wikipedia].Thus, to go the same distance, one must burn more ethanol (by mass) to get the same energy output, producing more carbon, which in turn binds chemically to oxygen and create CO2 (and CO, and water vapor).Consider actually doing your homework before making random, spurious, and inaccurate claims.

  4. fallout11 says:

    Follow-up:“Biofuels make climate change worse, scientific study concludes” http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/biofuels-make-climate-change-worse-scientific-study-concludes-779811.html

  5. cxxguy says:

    Anybody who advocates government intrusion into the market is a Socialist, not a Free Market Capitalist, regardless of how he made his money.Therefore, the people about whom you speak are not Free Market Capitalists.A Corporate Socialist, a Marxist Socialist, a Stalinist Socialst, or a National Socialist is still a Socialist.Socialism is not the answer, it’s the Problem.

  6. fallout11 writes “Consider actually doing your homework before making random, spurious, and inaccurate claims.”Physician heal thyself. Ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Period. Ever consider the carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and many volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). Moreover, unburnt gasoline exiting your tailpipe is converted by sunlight into very harmful photochemical smog (including peroxyacyl nitrate, ketones, dicarbonyl compounds, aldehydes, and more).So, fallout11, be a brighht guy. “Consider actually doing your homework before making random, spurious,” simplistic, and VERY MISLEADING claims.

  7. fallout11 writes “Consider actually doing your homework before making random, spurious, and inaccurate claims.”Physician heal thyself. Ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Period. Ever consider that gasolines produces carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and many volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). Moreover, unburnt gasoline exiting your tailpipe is converted by sunlight into very harmful photochemical smog (including peroxyacyl nitrate, ketones, dicarbonyl compounds, aldehydes, and more).So, fallout11, be a bright guy. “Consider actually doing your homework before making random, spurious,” simplistic, and VERY MISLEADING claims.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Absolutly Amazing.Someone needs to write a well-documented and conclusive report on this and then get in out to people in government, the auto and oil industries, and the american people in general.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Someone already did. It was a series scheduled to air on KQED public television after the OPEC crisis. After the first episode, chevron(the primary sponsor)contacted KQED and vowed to withdraw funding if the series aired. The series and the book were shelved. This issue is complex and it is important that one understand the role of corporations like Monsanto before taking a stance on corn ethanol. Anyone claiming to understand the true nature of fuel(in America and eventually the world) needs to conduct fastidious historical research. Unless, of course, they are just asking questions.

  10. OA says:

    that book you speak of that was shelved, is now available at alcoholcanbeagas.com
    It is phenominal. There is so much lost history when it comes to alcohol fuel. The series is still locked up in a vault, but look up David Blume on google video. there are some very thorough presentations.

  11. Merce says:

    Gasoline is made from oil which is a bunch of carbon and hydrogen molecules that are sequestered underground away from the atmosphere. So when they are dredged up by drilling and refined and burned in an internal combustion engine, they are creating carbon dioxide compounds that would not naturally exist in the atmosphere. It is a new source of greenhouse gases. Ethanol is made from plants which collect carbon out of the air and build cellulose with it. When you ferment these plants and distill the alcohol from it to use as a fuel, the carbon dioxide that is released is equal to or less than the amount collected by the original plants to make the fuel. So in effect, it is a closed loop that doesn’t add any new greenhouse gases, it just cycles them through the system of plants to fuel to CO2 back to plants.
    Furthermore, it will most likely sequester CO2 from the atmosphere into the soil because the roots of the plant will have CO2 in them and will be left behind when the plant is harvested allowing the roots to decompose and release the CO2 into the soil. Even if you’re harvesting sugar beets (a root crop), you’ll never be able to get all of the root tendrils out of the soil, so it may seem minor, but large fields of plants could sequester a large amount of CO2. And Luckless Pedestrian makes a great point about alcohol as a fuel emitting CO2 and H2O out the tailpipe vs gasoline which is a nearly endless list of nasty chemical compounds to wreak havoc on the natural world and human health.

  12. Judith A. Lomas says:

    We are choking on the farts of prehistory.

  13. A, G. Gelbert says:

    It was a total Rockefeller scam. It was no coincidence that less than a year after Prohibition begins with outlawing, not just human consumption of ethyl alcohol (119 octane vs high test gasoline of only 93-95 octane), otherwise known as ethanol, but also using it as automobile fuel as well, the “amazing” discovery of tetra-ethyl lead is made that enables gasoline to run on high compression engines. Of course ethanol could already do that WITHOUT pollution and crud build up in the engines but now it was illegal so Rockefeller no longer had any competition from this renewable fuel called ethanol. How convenient! What a lucky fellow!

    The enthalpy differences between gasoline and ethanol that lead the oil industry to falsely claim that gasoline gets better mileage than ethanol are based on the fact that gasoline has more enregy density per mole in oxidation in an open area (e.g. boiling water in a lab). BUT, when ethanol is burned in a high compression engine, it gets EQUAL or Better mileage because of its higher octane. To this day, web sites like The Oil Drum keep pushing the lie that gasoline is a better fuel. Don’t believe it. Get the facts.

    [Ethyl alcohol in the early 20th century The following excerpt is from a Paper to the American Society for Environmental History, Annual Conference March 26-30, 2003 By William Kovarik, Ph.D. “Studies of alcohol as an internal combustion engine fuel began in the U.S. with the Edison Electric Testing Laboratory and Columbia University in 1906. Elihu Thomson reported that despite a smaller heat or B.T.U. value, “a gallon of alcohol will develop substantially the same power in an internal combustion engine as a gallon of gasoline. This is owing to the superior efficiency of operation…” (New York Times Aug. 5, 1906) Other researchers confirmed the same phenomena around the same time. “USDA tests in 1906 also demonstrated the efficiency of alcohol in engines and described how gasoline engines could be modified for higher power with pure alcohol fuel or for equivalent fuel consumption, depending on the need. The U.S. Geological Service (USGS) and the U.S. Navy performed 2000 tests on alcohol and gasoline engines in 1907 and 1908 in Norfolk, Va. and St. Louis, Mo. They found that much higher engine compression ratios could be achieved with alcohol than with gasoline. When the compression ratios were adjusted for each fuel, fuel economy was virtually equal despite the greater B.T.U. value of gasoline. “In regard to general cleanliness, such as absence of smoke and disagreeable odors, alcohol has many advantages over gasoline or kerosene as a fuel,” the report said. “The exhaust from an alcohol engine is never clouded with a black or grayish smoke.” USGS continued the comparative tests and later noted that alcohol was “a more ideal fuel than gasoline” with better efficiency despite the high cost.”]

    http://www.americanenergyindependence.com/alcoholengines.aspx

    http://www.doomsteaddiner.org/blog/2012/07/17/hope-for-a-viable-biosphere-of-renewables/

  14. A, G. Gelbert says:

    “The gasoline engine became the preferred engine for the automobile because gasoline was cheaper than alcohol, not because it was a better fuel. And, because alcohol was not available at any price from 1920 to 1933, a period during which the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol was banned nationally as mandated in the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The amendment was repealed by the Twenty-First Amendment on December 5, 1933. In time to produce alcohol fuels during World War II. By the time World War II ended, the gasoline engine had become “entrenched” because gasoline remained cheaper than Alcohol, and widely distributed – gas stations were everywhere.”

    http://www.americanenergyindependence.com/alcoholengines.aspx

  15. I am writing in response to your 2008 words,which I just found tonight:
    “It kind of makes me wonder why we’re fighting an illegal war over oil in the desert, thousands of miles away, when we could probably retrofit our cars to run on domestically produced alcohol fuels.”
    I have teaching the RIGHT ways to make alcohol fuel since 1981. It used to be a lot of work. Now, it’s easy. Now, I can have you running on alcohol fuel one week from today. It’s easy now.
    Now you have a choice between Death Fuel and Life Fuel: Alcohol Fuel. What will it be?
    You may e-mail me at ian@alcoholcanbeagas.com, or call me from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Pacific Time) at (xxx) xxx-xxxx.

    I.M.(“Scotty”) Crawford
    Alcohol Fuel Specialist
    International Institute for Ecological Agriculture

  16. IAB says:

    Thermal heating units have very little to do with the ability of a fuel to create mechanical work. The problem with MPG is that the engines are not tuned to utilize the high octane value of Ethanol.

    BTW, Ethanol is cheaper than gasoline, and has been now for 18+ months.

  17. Mitch says:

    Gee. I wonder. Do you think that gasoline was a better fuel, after all? Ethanol will always be less attractive, less refined, less plentiful. We are still glutted with petroleum. Oh, and even at today’s high gas prices, ethanol is not a better value or a better fuel.

    If he told a few falsehoods and dodged around a bit, Rockefeller still did generations of Earthlings a big favor.

  18. [...] Henry Fords’ first model A and T’s had a switch to alcohol or to oil to run the cars. This is what Prohibition in the 20′s was really about, not a social disease as has been taught to us. (This ban, with complete compliance of Congress and the President, also made Joe Kennedy and the Robber Barons even more wealthy.) http://weblog.timoregan.com/archive/2008/01/john-d-rockefeller-alcohol-prohibition/ [...]

  19. Iwonder says:

    Ever wonder why the EPA has been in search of and additive to reduce emissions of gasoline engines for well over 20 years.
    Benzene- all gasoline has 1-2 % benzene in it. Some is unburnt and enters the air. So every gallon of gasoline you burn you release benzene. Not so with ethanol. Why does the EPA won’t to reduce benzene emissions – cancer!
    That is why ethanol and other forms of fuel are important to develop
    Fine tune engine for higher compression, – get better mileage, plants capture CO2. Reduce global warming, improve health, no need to fight oil war

  20. [...] gasoline for motor vehicle fuel. This link wasn't the kookiest, but it does look a bit that way John D. Rockefeller & Alcohol Prohibition : : Electric Monkey Pants I have read that there are claims that the anti- marijuana laws are also set up to prevent Hemp [...]

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  23. Fred Delmer says:

    JackHerer.com has his book “Emporer Wears No Clothes” available to read free online. This book lays it all out for us. Just grow hemp.

  24. Lloyd U says:

    What a bunch of Hookum! Prohibition did not restrict the manufacture of alcohol, it restricted the manufacture, sale and transportation of ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES. There was no law against producing alcohol as a fuel.

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