Banned Four Loko being turned into ethanol

Four Loko once fueled binge drinkers, now it fuels cars.
Were you wondering what ever happened to all those banned alcohol-laced energy drinks after they were pulled off the market? The AP reports that they're being recycled into ethanol.

What the FDA says you shouldn't put in your body, you can at least put in your car.

MXI Environmental Services in Virginia, one of the three American facilities that recycles ethanol, is among those processing the banned beverages, which are coming from wholesalers and the manufacturers themselves, including Phusion Projects' Four Loko.

An MXI spokesperson said the plant is operating at full capacity to process about 8,000 cans of the stuff each day. MXI is able to distill the alcohol from the beverages to sell for blending with gasoline; the company also sells the aluminum cans to a recycler.

The whole alcoholic energy drink debacle was certainly a big waste of time, money, and resources--but at least the products aren't ending up in a landfill or incinerator.

More posts:
Check out our taste test of two alcoholic energy drinks: Four Loko vs. Joose
Four Loko Banned in New York

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They could just use it for lethal injections. Two cans?


-sigh- this makes me slightly sad.


Actually, this is nothing new. Flex fuel vehicles rented out to VIPs at the last Democratic National Convention was running on ethanol (E85, actually) distilled from waste beer at the Coor brewery. Prince Charles converted one of his Auston Martins to run on ethanol made from English wine.

Here in Minnesota, all our gas-powered vehicles are using E10 (10 percent ethanol), some flex fuel vehicles can stop at any of the 350+ E85 stations in Minnesota. Cheaper & cleaner-burning than gasoline.


Cheaper? Not really. The subsidies (at taxpayer expense) to the growers and processors as well as the decreased fuel efficiency (versus pure petroleum fuel) make E85 a loss. I'll stick with diesel or WVO instead. I'd love to see a diesel-electric hybrid light truck or SUV, but so far I only see transit buses with that technology.


You might be suprised by the less-than-transparent tax breaks, subsidies and uncollected royalties the petroleum industry enjoys, Luno. One major ethanol lobby recently said they would be happy to give up all their subsidies if the oil companies would do the same. Needless to say, no one took them up on their offer.

That said, I share your desire to see more "clean air choices" in both fuels and vehicles. Our diesel is getting cleaner (it's all ultra-low sulfur now) and in Minnesota, all the #2 diesel contains a 5% biodiesel blend. Newer diesel engines are significantly cleaner, too. Combining exisiting cleaner technologies in a single vehicle makes a lot of sense. In a year or two, the Chevy Volt should be available as a pug-in hybrid that can use E85. Win-win-win.

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