In an article entitled, America's Real Criminal Element: Lead, the author makes a convincing argument that the rise of violent crime in America was caused by the increase of the use of lead in gasoline, and that the subsequent drop in violent crime matches the discontinued use of lead as an anti-knock agent.
Way back in the
early 1900's, ethanol was suggested as an anti-knock agent because it is
naturally high in octane. The oil industry chose to use lead instead, from 1917 until 1987, when it was discontinued because, of course, lead is poisonous. And ethanol is not.
It is sobering to think it is likely that thousands of people were murdered in America because of the oil industry's fateful decision back in 1917.
Adding ethanol instead of lead to gasoline is an improvement, but it is even better to add a little gasoline to ethanol and burn that instead (E85). Or even better, as many do in Brazil, how about skipping the gasoline altogether and burning straight ethanol? It's an impressive fuel all by itself.