Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Converting ethanol into testosterone

Avid readers will know that I drive a VW Passat. The identity crisis associated with this is proportional to the difference in price between my erstwhile chariot and other cars to which I aspire.

Nevertheless, its maker insists that I will only get optimal performance from it by filling it with 98 RON unleaded fuel. If I want to suffer poorer performance (responsiveness and fuel economy), I am permitted to use 95 RON. Below that and... well suffer the consequences. Engine seizure, heart seizure at the repair bill and so on.

And as for ethanol, even mixed in over-the-counter medication proportions, forget it. The VeeDub would most likely just lie dormant and wheezing in the drive way, as it slid through the gears into malnutrition.

The killer for ethanol is the suspicion that performance suffers. In the dark recesses of the male mind, this has sexual overtones. Like substituting your Viagra with pink icing sugar. In Australia, the V8 Supercars even use ethanol but, to my mind, it hasn't registered with the hoards on the hill at the Bathurst circuit.

No. To testosterone charged males, taking the lead out of petrol in the 1980s was the thin end of the wedge. I worked for Ford at the time and we dropped the V8! with calamitous consequences for top-end Falcon sales (now there's a contradiction in terms). Now, we're just diluting our potency further by adding plant extracts. My God, the cars will be vegetarian next and we know how thin and pasty looking vegetarians are!

Clearly ethanol is too much like estrogen. It even begins with 'e'. Nothing like the 'T' for testosterone or Tyrannosaurus Rex, or T-bar shift. Ethanol has as big an image problem as a Formula 1 or NASCAR driver called Ethyl. How's 'ethyl-benzene' sound? Just doesn't work like methyl-benzene.

Let's rename it Tethanol for a start. This close cousin of testosterone would have us queuing at the pumps for our weekly top-up of automotive viagra. And we'd be all the better for it - environment included. Who wants to do the global repositioning job for ethanol?

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