The Internal Combustion Engine Is Far From Dead

By way of this post comes this headline from an article in SAE International’s Automotive Engineering: “Not Dead Yet: Engineering the ICE toward 2050.”

At present about 1.2-1.3 billion cars and light trucks are owned by citizens all over the world, almost all of which are powered by gasoline or diesel. Every year another 70-80 million new vehicles are purchased and almost all of them are neither electric nor hybrid. Here is a telling statement from the aforementioned article:


“Mass electrification is coming. By now, most of the mobility-engineering community accepts that. EVs will, at some point in time, emerge as the ubiquitous propulsion source for light vehicles—and potentially for larger ones as well.”

But until that future arrivesmaybe three decades hence—billions of new internal-combustion engines of various types will be produced.” [emphasis mine]


Even if one assumes an average of 50,000,000 new gasoline/diesel vehicles a year for the next 30 years that would be another 1.5 billion of this type. In another example of the difference between revealed and actual preferences, while many Americans (about 20%), when polled, say they would consider purchasing an electric vehicle, only about one percent of all cars sold in the US are electric. Another two percent are hybrids.

Massive paradigm shifts almost always take time no matter how “inevitable” they may be.


So, just how bad is ethanol content in gasoline for older cars? I have called the move to ethanol the “corn farmers subsidy program.” Many aficionados complain that today’s gas with its 10% ethanol gums up carburetors and, in general, fouls up older cars.


Large Picture of '62 Gran Turismo - QHG1


Prominently mentioned in the ad for this 1962 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk is the fact that the valves/heads have been refurbished so the car can use “ethanol-based” gas. Of course, the original carburetor will still be vulnerable to getting gummed up. Does anyone know if gas additives sold that supposedly counteract the effect of ethanol really work? Do EFI conversion kits exist for cars like this? C’mon, folks, I am relying on your collective knowledge. I live in a state where it is illegal to buy ethanol-free gas and even though I don’t think I’ll be living here 3-4 years from now, the probability that I buy a car like this before I move is not zero, although it is small. (Of course, I can cross the border and buy ethanol-free gas in a neighboring state.) By the way, the seller is asking $15,000 for this car. At the recently concluded Mecum auction in Monterey, California a GT Hawk went unsold with a high bid of $13,500.

Seriously, I would appreciate comments from you regarding the use of modern gasoline in older cars. Thanks.







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2 thoughts on “The Internal Combustion Engine Is Far From Dead

  1. … hee hee … We both post something involving Studebaker on the same day:

    You are exactly right about ethanol being a corn farmer welfare program at taxpayer expense.

    Not having an older car at this time, I can’t give you any guidance based on personal experience about using a fuel containing ethanol. I know that the people who are technically knowledgeable at recommend having the valves hardened on older cars that might use fuel containing ethanol.

    I don’t have facts to back this up but my observation is that there are more car engine fires these days particularly in older cars. I feel the culprit is ethanol.

    Those Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawks are undervalued. This is a good time to buy one … Just sayin’ …


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