Could I make my own gasoline?

In these days of gas prices approaching $2 a gallon, I am desperate to find a way to save a few bucks. With a barrel of crude oil going for $30, I figure I could save money if I knew how to make my own homebrew. Is this possible? Anyone got a recipe?

I’ve got an engine that runs on milk. Unfortunately, that’s $2.80/gal. :smiley:

Wrong thinking is punished, right thinking is just as swiftly rewarded. You’ll find it an effective combination.

You might research the Nazis’ WW II efforts in synthetic oil production, or you could put together your own drilling program.

One way or another, I doubt you can supply yourself with gasoline at less cost than buying it at a gas station.

Perhaps you could put together a personal refinery and buy crude to make your own gasoline.

Good luck! And let us know how you make out.

One of the reasons gasoline is relatively cheap is because of efficient refining methods that only work on a large scale. This is one of the reasons the old Standard Oil was able to crush the independant competition. Your backyard still would not be very efficient and your neighbors would hate your guts because of the smell.

Get used to it. Even at $2 a gallon we have probably the cheapest gas outside of an OPEC country.

AWB, you might have something there if you wait for sales and use your discount card. Does your engine run on milk that’s gone past the expiration date?


And I bet it has to be camel’s milk…

I for one welcome our new insect overlords… - K. Brockman

Can I run my car on pure (100%/200 proof) ethanol? Suppose with some modifications, we started using alcohol in our cars-is there sufficient distillation capacity in the USA, to make enough alcohol?

There are farmers with their own stills for use only with their on farm equipment. You would get into a whole lot of trouble trying to put it in an on the rosd vehicle because uncle Sam wouldn’t get his tax money.
I like the Idea of alcohol as fuel but there are many problems .
There are problems in cold weather because of not as good combustion
Alcohol is corrosive to many metals and some plastics are affected by it.
I personally think that it is time to let a few grants for testing bio fuels,maybe soy alcohol mixture.

Is there sufficient arable land to grow enough corn?

the ethanol program is a feel good thing that is a waste as it takes more energy to produce a gallon of ethanol than the gallon of ethanol will deliver.

Today you cannot produce gasoline any cheaper than you can buy it and you cannot produce electricity any cheaper than you can buy it. It is a matter of scale.

There was a call on the Car Talk radio show about bio-diesel a couple of weeks ago. Apparently you can make diesel fuel from vegetable oil, for about 60 cents per gallon. Doesn’t make sense to me, since vegetable oil itself must cost more than that… Their reply was to check their web page ( ) and ask on the message board - duh. Found one page at

Maybe you are correct about producing gasoline, but I know you are dead wrong about electricity. I know this for a fact because my uncle said “screw the power company” one day, put a generator in the river running behind his house and never paid an electric bill again. He was funny like that, but he was an absolute genius when it came to tinkering with things. Another example is the time he built an electric motorcycle. He brought it to the house and drove it around the block and it ran very well. It would have been great for just going around town. But it didn’t have any brakes, so it didn’t amount to much.
Anyway, regardless of the cost, I guess what I am really curious about is the process one would go through to produce gasoline from crude oil. Several folks have hinted that it would be too expensive or too smelly, as if they know the process, but they have not divulged it. Can someone out there fork over the details?

Paintsville, I can’t give a URL with plans for a homemade refinery, but the principle is tha same as an alcohol still. You heat the crude until the light fractions vaporize. The industry standard is a tall tower where the vapor condenses on rising, so the higher up the tower you go, the lighter the condensed component is. Methane, of course escapes at the top. This is why refinery towers have a fire on top of them. It’s an awful waste to burn all that methane, you’d think they could at least capture it and use it to heat the crude. So, if you want to make your own crude oil still, the main thing you need to know is the boiling point of the fraction you want to produce. Gasoline is a mixture of chain hydrocarbons ranging from heptane thru decane (C5H12 thru C10H22). Find the B.P. range for this mixture and build your still to capture these fractions and you’ll have gasoline. You’ll also have to find a use or market for the residual oil, the heavier distillates (kerosene), and the lighter distillates (CH4 thru C4H10). Finally, unless you have a source of free or very cheap crude, you really will be wasting your time.

Sorry the subscripts didn’t come thru. I’ll try harder next time.

Spring is here, get a bike.

Thank you TNTruth. That’s more along the lines of what I was looking for, although I’ll admit I’m not exactly a good hand at chemistry. But I suppose it would be too much to expect a Betty Crocker-style recipe. :wink:

Handy: I would, believe me, but I’ve got a 15-mile drive to work, plus I have to drop my kid off at school along the way. But I have been thinking about getting a bike to keep at work to go to out to lunch, etc.