Horrific New Video Identifies Man Who Killed The Most People In History +VIDEO
The weapon is tetraethyl lead, and it's still all around us today
Author of THE ETHANOL PAPERS
Exec. Vice President/Co-Publisher
THE AUTO CHANNEL
On a regular basis, I write about how deadly the petroleum oil industry has been to the world. I write about all the wars that have been fought over ownership and access to crude oil; about the environmental disasters that have resulted from drilling and shipping accidents; and the diseases caused by the emissions from petroleum oil fuels...diseases that include respiratory illness, cancer, and brain damage. I typically refer to millions of fatalities and lifelong casualties.
I also rail against the people and the organizations, who for one senseless reason or another, consciously ignore and excuse these loses. Just yesterday, I published a report titled "It's Time For Ethanol Honesty" that exposes an elected state official in Maine who campaigns for the expanded availability of E0 gasoline, which would have to be enhanced with greater quantities of benzene or a return to tetraethyl lead to boost its octane level so that it works in modern engines.
Now, a shocking new documentary from Derek Muller and his company Veritasium has quantified the carnage caused by gasoline, which makes my casualty figures seem small.. And most shocking of all, the video identifies the person who is primarily responsible. It's not Adolf Hitler or any of the monsters who worked for him. Not Josef Stalin and his Goons. Not Mao, nor Pol Pot, nor Castro. It's Thomas Midgley, Jr., a mechanical and chemical engineer who worked for General Motors.
Ironically, Ford wasn't the only one who believed in ethanol, Thomas Midgley did, too, along with his immediate boss Charles Kettering, and colleague T.A. Boyd. But Midgley spearheaded the research. Midgley was known to have told audiences at scientific events that "Ethanol was the fuel of the future."
They knew that lead was poisonous, hell, everyone in the scientific world knew lead was poisonous...it was a known poison for thousands of years. They received warnings about adding it to gasoline. But they went ahead anyway.
Ultimately, it was profit that sealed the deal. Ethanol distilling may have been known for as long or even longer than the knowledge of lead's dangerous characteristics. Ethanol is so relatively safe, it can be consumed, it can be used as an antiseptic, it can be used as a solvent without the fumes causing unconsciousness. But, blending ethanol with gasoline was not a patentable formula, nor was the making of ethanol a patentable product; ethanol had been distilled for many hundreds of years, and was in the public domain. Combining tetraethyl lead with gasoline could be patented, and GM's management was alerted to the possibility of making billions of dollars in profit by the time the patents ran out, many decades in the future.
How important would this 'side-hustle profit' be, and become for General Motors?
In my 2012 report "The Rise & Fall of General Motors and the Subjugation of the Industrialized World," I describe how this profit allowed GM to dominate the automobile industry because they could treat their automobiles as loss-leaders just to sell leaded gasoline. All cars and gasoline-powered trucks would need leaded gasoline, not just General Motors' vehicles, and their patented leaded gasoline was the only game in town. They could outspend the competition on marketing, talent acquisition, R&D, political inducements, and granting wages and benefits to existing employees that the other car companies couldn't match.
In the early years of making tetraethyl lead for leaded gasoline, employees at DuPont's New Jersey factory became ill. Tetraethyl lead was known as "looney gas." Some simply went insane from lead poisoning, some died. Thomas Midgley himself became ill from lead poisoning. The word got out, and there were investigations. However, the combined 'purchasing power' of the companies and families were able to buy enough doctors, scientists, and politicians to remove all restrictions on leaded gasoline. By the time Rockefeller's Prohibition ended in the early 1930s, gasoline - particularly leaded gasoline - was the preeminent fuel for internal combustion engines.
The result of this story is the subject of Derek Muller's brilliant, but devastating documentary. It should be watched by everyone, multiple times. Here it is:
In August 2018, Susan Fourtané, a science and technology journalist, published a similarly brilliant article titled "Thomas Midgley Jr.: The Man Who Harmed the World the Most." This report has some very important videos and graphics. It's an excellent companion piece to Derek Muller's video. Please read it by CLICKING HERE.
By the way, a major source of information in this video is our friend Dr. William Kovarik. Bill has also been a major source of The Auto Channel's education of the history of alternative fuels and ethanol, and a mentor to me. Bill was one of the author's of a fantastic book, "The Forbidden Fuel."
For more information about Henry Ford's desire to use ethanol fuel, and how John D. Rockefeller created 'Prohibition' to ban the major competitor to gasoline, read my award-winning book/essay:
Yes, Tin Lizzie Was An Alcoholic.
ALSO SEE: Life As We Might Have Known It: What If Ethanol Was Our Primary Engine Fuel