Should Cars be Made to Run on Any Fuel so the Best Fuel Wins?

It takes almost nothing at all to make a gasoline-only car capable of also burning methanol and ethanol. If that was done to all cars, when you went to a fuel station, those fuels would be in constant daily competition, which would be really good for the consumer.

Not only would we have three fuels competing, but ethanol and methanol can both be made from many things, so their feedstocks could also compete. Which would you buy? Ethanol made from corn, ethanol made from local municipal waste, or ethanol made from algae using undrinkable water and unfarmable land? Or maybe methanol made from natural gas? Methanol made from coal? Methanol made from agricultural waste? Wouldn't you like to have a choice? Wouldn't you like to see those fuels have a chance to compete with petroleum?

The best fuel would only win for the day. Tomorrow, who knows what new, better, cheaper, cleaner fuel would hit the market and set the bar even higher? In other words, fuels would compete the way apps for your phone compete: Fiercely. Daily. Creatively.

All that needs to happen is to break the monopoly. In the case of phones, the monopoly was AT&T's on long distance calling. When that monopoly was broken in 1984, the phone industry exploded with new services, cheaper services, new ways of making phone calls, and now phones and phone services and apps are all competing for our dollars fiercely. It has been great for the consumer.

In the case of fuels, the only thing holding us back from a similar competitive environment is the one-fuel car. That's what keeps petroleum's monopoly in place. Break that and you change the world. 

Adam Khan is the co-author with Klassy Evans of Fill Your Tank With Freedom and the author of Slotralogy and Self-Reliance, Translated. Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.

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