Recent developments in chemistry show there is a new way to convert carbon dioxide into methanol. Methanol is mostly used by industry but could possibly be used as fuel for auto and truck transportation. If used for vehicle transportation, methanol could make it profitable for America and the rest of the world to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions.
The recent discoveries indicate methanol, using carbon dioxide, can be produced at a significantly lower cost than gasoline. Thus, instead of “sequestering” carbon dioxide (by burying it), it could be recycled and used as fuel for cars, trucks, and ships. For a long time it has been known that methanol is better for the environment than either gasoline or ethanol. Methanol also produces higher performance (vs. natural gas that reduces horsepower by ~ 50%); it has an octane rating of 100, which is almost 10% > premium gasoline. For decades it was used to fuel Indianapolis 500 cars. Unlike ethanol, methanol does not raise food prices.
A 2011 MIT study concluded methanol was the best use of natural or shale gas in transportation. The cost is also significantly cheaper per mile driven than either gasoline or ethanol.
What is hurting the further development of methanol is the subsidies the U.S. pays for corn-based ethanol. Around the world, millions of U.S. and foreign cars operate on a mixture of gasoline and methanol—but not in the U.S.