Home Energy and Environment Have Vehicle Fuels Advanced Since “The Dukes of Hazzard”?

Have Vehicle Fuels Advanced Since “The Dukes of Hazzard”?


When The Green Miles was 5, I was a huge fan of The Dukes of Hazzard. So when I couldn’t find anything to watch the other night & an episode was just starting, I figured what the heck.

The episode, titled High Octane, features the Duke family entering an alternative fuel contest sponsored by the Department of Energy. They submit a batch of Uncle Jesse’s moonshine whiskey & the judge not only gives him top prize, he pronounces it the best tasting fuel and/or whiskey he’s ever had.

But shortly after the episode aired, oil prices came back down, President Reagan took office and slashed incentives for alternative energy & conservation, and vehicle fuels have puttered in neutral ever since. We’re still putting gas or the equally-bad corn ethanol in our vehicles. And our cars & trucks don’t get much better gas mileage than they did in the days of the General Lee:

Fortunately, President Obama has taken bold moves to change that, pushing for significantly higher fuel efficiency standards. The new rules will save 2 billion barrels of oil.

That 2 billion barrels works out to 40 billion gallons of gas. At $3 a gallon, that’s enough to buy Americans 8 billion bottles of whiskey. Seems a much better use of the money, don’t you think?

Side note: Now I know why my parents refused to watch The Dukes of Hazzard with me. Felt like they only had enough plot for 15 minutes & the writers did all they could to stretch it to an hour. I’ve seen dogs being taken to the vet that dragged their feet less. Also, fun to watch the General Lee jumps again. Seemed completely plausible when I was 5.

Cross-posted from The Green Miles

  • blue bronc

    Short, shorts and power cars.

    I believe we should never make fuel out of our food. It creates a competition that cannot be reconciled. The same for turning forests into fuel. It destroys in minutes what takes decades and much energy (fertilizer and water) to make.

    Growing up with 12.9 cent per gallon gas was nice, even with inflation that is less than half of what we are paying now.  

  • Steve Vaughan

    Uncle Jesse was producing corn-based ethanol. Doesn’t everybody — left, right, center —  agree at this point that that’s an environmental and financial boondoggle? It takes more energy to produce than it supplies. Its production causes more pollution than burning it instead of gasoline abates. It’s a policy that we only have because Iowa leads off the presidential selection process.

  • Tom

    in 1967 and 1968 we were paying $.25/per gallon (including Fed. and state tax) and some of my high school classmates still objected to giving me a quarter for a gallon of gas. Looking back, I think they are now the Republicans who think 17 cents a gallon tax is too much and should be reduced, and just let the roads and bridges fall apart so we all have to stop driving and either quit our jobs or take public transportation, which I suppose means ride state-owned horses or just buy a lot more shoes so we can walk to work. Wait, did I say “public transportation”? Maybe this is a GOP plot to force us (or them) to support rail so no one has to even own a car (like many of my friends in Germany when I worked there for the U.S. Arny for 5 years in the 1980s). What is the Republican party coming to ? Are they really secretly working on a plan to make it possible to get along without even owning a car, and even ending our dependence on foreign oil ?

    And so ends my moment of wonderful fantasy about the government that tells us all what to do and not to do. Small government, my ass. When the GOP interferes with our own private citizens’ personal decisions such as who we can love, what a woman and her doctor can decide is best for her body and her health, that takes a much larger cadre of government enforcers who all demand that they be paid, and the contractors who help the enforcers demand to be paid also so they can in turn pay the GOP politicians who hire the contractors and lobbyists who pay the bribes. This is just too complicated for me to keep track of, I’d rather pay more for gasoline than have to pay the far higher costs of “cheap gas” and then have to hire a psychiatrist (not covered by my Medicare) to get my poor mind straight again.


  • Using food to fuel our cars is: a) stupid; b) immoral; c) driving up food prices and hurting poor people around the world; d) possibly contributing to unrest and instability in numerous countries; e) the epitome of everything that’s wrong with our political system; or f) all of the above.

    (note: the correct answer is “f”)