Home-made options for motor fuel

[The Luton News: Thursday, July 10th, 1919]

A meeting of considerable importance to motorists and commercial men generally, in that its object was to stimulate interest in the home production of fuels, power alcohol and benzole, thus rendering the country more independent of imported petrol, was held at the George Hotel on Monday under the presidency of Mr Hugh Cumberland. There was a good number of those interested in motoring in attendance, and the meeting, which was held under the auspices of the Automobile Association, was addressed by Capt Montgomery (Organising Secretary of the Motor Joint Committee).

The Chairman, in introducing the speaker said that for the past four years or so we had been engaged in a strenuous war, which had considerably upset the arrangements of practically all the railways and almost every industry in the country. The cost to the country, too, had been enormous, and we had now to get back to something like normal conditions as quickly as possible.

During the war the motor industry had made great strides, as was evidenced, even in in Luton, by the number of motor vehicles which had been purchased by businessmen to take their goods up to London and elsewhere. Even the farmers had purchased motors, and that showed the immense importance the motor transport industry would assume in the future.

To get back to normal conditions, he said, we had to produced as much as we possibly could as a country, and to use British-made goods, and, as motorists, British-made spirit for propelling motor vehicles. They had been using in the past petrol – a foreign product which had to be fetched from abroad, and consequently the profits went totally outside the country.

They had experts there that evening who would speak of the British-made motor fuels – particularly benzole, There was a great future for motoring, and it was their duty to see that British industry generally benefited by it.

Capt Montgomery, in the course of his address, touched upon the great importance in the industrial world that motor transport had already assumed. Even in Luton, situated as near to London as it was, the use of motor transport had considerably increased during the past few years. He understood that the manufacturers of Luton had found (owing to bad railway facilities which existed during the war) it much more economical, even with the high price of petrol, to have motor transport to take their goods from their doors to their customers; and what Luton had learned during the past few years in this respect was going on throughout the country.

It was impossible to see fully the probable developments of motor transport in this country. To have an efficient road transport, however, we must have a cheap and efficient fuel. There were three possible sources of home supply – firstly, the existing one – and the main existing one was benzole; secondly, te more probable one – power alcohol; thirdly, of which it was early to speak yet, home produced petroleum in the Chesterfield and North Shields districts.

On the proposition of Mr Harold Kitchen, seconded by Mr P. Allen, the following resolution was passed: “That this meeting of motorists and all interested in motor transport in Luton and the surrounding districts calls on the Government to stimulate home-produced fuels, power alcohol and benzole by immediately giving effect to the recommendations of the committee on the utilisation of power alcohol, and also to the recommendations of the Fuel Research Committee on gas standards, providing that all gas companies shall be required to extract the whole of the benzole from their gases.”

Mr Allen, a prominent Luton motorist, said that he could get 25 per cent more power and 25 per cent more distance out of his Napier engine with benzole mixed with petrol than he could with a similar quantity all petrol – a remarkable testimony to the value of benzole.