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Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

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Fact Check: Rockefeller Didn’t Pursue Prohibition to Ensure Ethanol’s Demise as a Fuel

Posted May 04, 2017 9:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: ethanol fuel gasoline Prohibition

We all have a favorite automotive tall tale or conspiracy theory we cling to over the years, but sometimes they’re just plain wrong and need debunked. Though we didn’t hear it when we asked for your favorite conspiracy theories a while back, we have come across the claim that John D. Rockefeller funded Prohibition as a means of eliminating ethanol as an automotive fuel, and after some research, we believe we can tag that claim as false.

The story, as it’s typically told, starts with Henry Ford and the Model T, designed to operated on both gasoline and ethanol (along with kerosene). Rockefeller, whose Standard Oil monopoly depended on widespread automotive consumption of gasoline, saw the possibility of ethanol-powered vehicles as enough of a threat to his business to warrant a ban on ethanol under the guise of the temperance movement and Prohibition.

No, we assure you, Prohibition was the result of much stupider arguments. It had nothing to do with auto fuel.

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Re: Fact Check: Rockefeller Didn’t Pursue Prohibition to Ensure Ethanol’s Demise as a Fuel

05/04/2017 4:39 PM

Volstead Act allowed for fuel use, but who could get a permit?

I do not recall seeing anywhere that someone could get a permit to run their car on Moonshine.

Did the States have authority, or did they have to apply to J. Edgar Whiffenpooper himself. (not the FBI guy, as to refer to the illustrious J. Edgar Hoover that way would be sacrilegious.)

But hey, if it spawned things like NASCAR, I am all for it.

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