When it comes to SHTF scenarios or other off-grid situations, being fully self-sustained is vital to long term survival. And one of the most unsustainable aspects of modern life is automobiles. You can’t brew gasoline, after all.
But something occurred to us: you can distill ethanol. Using a distillery, folks can use certain agricultural produce to make their own ethanol. And Ethanol happens to be a form of alternative vehicle fuel commonly seen in flex-fuel vehicles. So, in theory, couldn’t a well-prepared survivalist be able to make their own vehicle fuel?
The Short Answer: Not Really
As it turns out, you can’t find a 100% ethanol-fueled vehicle in the United States, UK, or China. The only place where such models were produced were in Brazil. Everywhere else, the highest gas-to-ethanol ratio vehicle available is E85, or 85% ethanol. While this is would be a great way to reduce the amount of gasoline used, it still relies on gasoline.
Realistically speaking, you won’t get access to a 100% ethanol vehicle in your local country, making this idea moot. But let’s humor the extravagant and say that you somehow got an E100 vehicle. Since it’s foreign and uncommon, finding repair parts and fixing it will be exponentially more difficult. You could, if you’re both lucky and savvy, convert your own vehicle to use ethanol. But conversion kits are hard to come by, limited, and leave the risk of rendering your car no longer street legal in modern life. And to top it all off, finding oil, coolant, transmission fluid will be equally as hard in a SHTF scenario.
If you, even then, are still determined. You’ll also have to learn how to grow sugar cane and harvest sugar from it. Sugar is a vital component to ethanol distillery, after all.
If you’re truly bent on having a vehicle in the post-apocalypse, you’re better off getting an electric car/motorcycle powered by a solar-powered recharge station.