Thirty years ago, Americans became aware of the power held by the oil-producing countries in the Middle East, and the complex practices of major oil companies here at home. In the late 1970’s, shortages of imported and domestic oil created a near panic in America. Long lines at gas stations across the country symbolized “The Energy Crisis”, and fueled a national debate about the need to develop sources of alternative energy. One such source was ethanol, a biofuel that can be made from a number of plants — including corn and sugar cane. Mixing ethanol with gasoline seemed to be the perfect answer. It was available, inexpensive and environmentally friendly. It was called GASOHOL.

In 1979, a little company with a big name: “American Gasohol” set out to help solve the energy crisis. Negotiating an agreement with the Brazilian government, American Gasohol planned to import sugar cane alcohol into the United States to supplement the apparent dwindling supply of gasoline. Fueled by idealism, well-packaged and under-capitalized, American Gasohol’s small unpaid staff worked to promote gasohol under the company tag line “The pure and simple energy source”. What resulted- in many ways- is a microcosm of why, thirty years later, we still depend on the volatile Middle East, we still do not know the full relationship between a barrel of oil and the price at the pump, and why at the dawn of the 21st century we have just returned to square one.

A documentary film by:

Executive Producers
George R. Lovelock and
Christopher B. Santry

Other film projects are in development.