In 1908, Ford Motor Company’s first car, The Model T, used ethanol corn alcohol gasoline as fuel energy.
Since 2003, ethanol has grown rapidly as the oxygenating factor for gasoline. Ethanol replaced MTBE for oxygenating fuel, since almost all states now have banned MTBE, due to groundwater contamination, health and environmental concerns.
Ethanol blend fuels for gas powered engines have been around for over 100 years; Ethanol is now found at most public gas stations nationwide, due to mandates/laws and recommendations in the Alternative Motor Fuels Act (1988), Clean Air Act (1990), Energy Policy Act (2005) and most importantly – The Renewable Fuel Standard Program (RFS) – Signed September 2006.
The push for ethanol as an alternative to imported oil spurred the construction of 172 plants in 25 states by the end of 2008. But during 2009 falling oil prices has made ethanol less cost effective. More than 20 plants have recently closed.
Despite 10% being the universally accepted legal limit for ethanol in conventional gas-powered engines,
in March 2009 ACE, Growth Energy and 54 ethanol producers submitted a waiver application to increase E10 to E15.
ETHANOL HISTORY TIMELINE
1826 Samuel Morey developed an engine that ran on ethanol and turpentine.
1850’s During the Civil War, a liquor tax was placed on ethanol whisky, also called Moonshine, to raise money for the war.
1876 Otto Cycle was the first combustion engine designed to use alcohol and gasoline.
1896 Henry Ford built his first automobile, the quadricycle, to run on pure ethanol.
1920’s Standard Oil began adding ethanol to gasoline to increase octane and reduce engine knocking.
1908 The first Ford Motor Company automobile, Henry Ford’s Model T. was designed to use corn alcohol, called ethanol. The Model T ran on (ethanol) alcohol, fuel or a combination of the two fuels.
1940’s First U.S. fuel ethanol plant built. The U.S. Army built and operated an ethanol plant in Omaha, Nebraska, to produce fuel for the army and to provide ethanol for regional fuel blending.
1940’s to late 1970’s Virtually no commercial fuel ethanol was sold to the general public in the U.S. – due to the low price of gasoline fuel.
1975 U.S. begins to phase out lead in gasoline. MTBE eventually replaced lead.
Note: Later, between 2004 to 2006, MTBE banned in almost all states, due to groundwater contamination and health risks.
1980’s Oxygenates added to gasoline included MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether – made from natural gas and petroleum) and ETBE (Ethyl Tertiary Butyl Ether – made from ethanol and petroleum).
1988 Denver, Colorado, was the first state to mandate ethanol oxygenates fuels for winter use to control carbon monoxide emissions. Other cities soon followed.
1990 Clean Air Act Amendments – Mandated the winter use of oxygenated fuels in 39 major carbon monoxide non-attainment areas (based on EPA emissions standards for carbon dioxide not being met) and required year-round use of oxygenates in 9 severe ozone non-attainment areas in 1995.
1992 The Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct) was passed by Congress to reduce our nation’s dependence on imported petroleum by requiring certain fleets to acquire alternative fuel vehicles, which are capable of operating on nonpetroleum fuels.
The Clean Air Act (1990) and Alternative Motor Fuels Act (1998 1992) contain provisions for mandating oxygenated fuel (RFG =Ethanol and MTBE). Requirements set for 2 types of clean-burning gasoline, RFG Federal Reformulated Gasoline and Wintertime Oxygenated Fuel.
1995 The EPA began requiring the use of reformulated gasoline year round in metropolitan areas with the most smog.