Key dates in the history of ethanol:
Samuel Morey develops an engine that runs on ethanol and turpentine.
German engine inventor Nicholas Otto uses ethanol as the fuel in one of his engines. Otto is best known for his development of a modern internal combustion engine in 1876.
Henry Ford builds his first automobile, the quadricycle, to run on pure ethanol.
Henry Ford produced the Model T - a “flexible fuel” vehicle that can run on ethanol, gasoline or a combination.
The need for fuel during World War I drives ethanol demand to 50 to 60 million gallons per year.
Gasoline became the motor fuel of choice. Standard Oil began adding ethanol to gasoline to boost octane and reduce engine knocking.
More than 2,000 gasoline stations in the Midwest sell gasohol - gasoline blended with between 6 percent and 12 percent ethanol.
With reduced need for war materials and with the low price of fuel, commercial demand for ethanol drops to virtually nothing.
The Solar Energy Research, Development and Demonstration Act prompts research into the conversion of cellulose and other organic materials into useful energy or fuel.
United States begins to phase out lead in gasoline. Ethanol becomes more attractive as a possible octane booster for gasoline.
Gasohol defined for the first time in the Energy Tax Act of 1978 as a blend of gasoline with at least 10 percent alcohol by volume, excluding alcohol made from petroleum, natural gas or coal. The law amounted to a 40 cents per gallon subsidy for every gallon of ethanol blended into gas.
First U.S. survey of ethanol production finds fewer than 10 ethanol facilities producing roughly 50 million gallons of ethanol per year.
Surface Transportation Assistance Act increases ethanol subsidy to 50 cents per gallon.
The number of ethanol plants in the United States rises to 163. The Tax Reform Act increases the ethanol subsidy to 60 cents per gallon.
Despite the subsidies, only 74 commercial ethanol plants are operating at the end of 1985, producing 595 million gallons of ethanol for the year.
The EPA begins requiring the use of reformulated gas year-round in metropolitan areas with the most smog.
Major U.S. auto manufacturers begin mass production of flexible-fueled vehicle models capable of operating on E-85, gasoline or both. Most use gas as their only fuel because of the scarcity of E-85 stations.
Ethanol subsidy reduced to 53 cents per gallon.
U.S. automakers continue to produce E-85-capable vehicles to meet federal regulations. Some 3 million of these vehicles in use.
- Source: Energy Information Administration: http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/history/timelines/ethanol.html
Thanks for reading!
3 years ago