Planet Gore Howlers: Henry Ford invented the gas engine — and that engine couldn’t run biofuels

So PG has a typical post attacking Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) for trying to drag the car industry into the 21st Century with fuel economy standards.

The post is notable for a double howler. PG’s Henry Payne starts by attacking Reid’s history of the auto industry, saying “Reid presumes to lecture automakers on their own history.” And then he presumes to claim:

Of course, it’s Ford’s ingenuity that invented the gas engine, a vastly superior technology to steam and electrics that has given Americans unprecedented freedom. It remains superior today (along with oil-cousin diesel) even against new challengers like biofuel.

Uhh, no. Not even close. ROTFLMAO, as they say. Ford’s big contribution was inventing the moving assembly line around 1913, decades after the gas engine was invented. And it would probably stun Payne to learn that

Henry Ford’s Model T was the first flexible-fuel vehicle, running on gas, ethanol or both, and the automaker foretold the future when he said fuel could be gotten from fruit, weeds, sawdust, or anything else that could be fermented.

PG just makes stuff up to support their position. They should spend even a few seconds with Google fact-checking before lambasting Reid with mistakes that egregious.

So who did invent the gasoline engine? A lot of folks claim credit, but I’d vote for three people.

1876 — Nikolaus August Otto invented and later patented a successful four-stroke engine, known as the “Otto cycle.”1885 — Gottlieb Daimler invented what is often recognized as the prototype of the modern gas engine — with a vertical cylinder, and with gasoline injected through a carburetor (patented in 1887).1886 — On January 29, Karl Benz received the first patent (DRP No. 37435) for a gas-fueled car.

As an aside, Ford’s moving assembly was a major advance in manufacturing that would have worked as well with a steam or electric car, had those been more practical.


I’m counting these two major pieces of PG disinfotainment as PGDW #33 and 34 , for those keeping track. And while the post is filled with other nonsense, I’ll throw in #35 for this absurd rhetoric:

Payne says that “Democrats are spineless,” for not endorsing a gas tax, “and prefer to enact backdoor mandates on industry to deflect their political pain.” Note to Payne: There’s nothing “backdoor” about toughening CAFE standards, and plenty of Senate Republicans voted for the measure last week (in fact, the compromise was offered without a single objection).