If you’re anything like me you decided at some point that you HAD to try Four Loko. Had to. I couldn’t see news story after news story about people getting blackout drunk, how this was the worst scourge since the Bubonic plague etc. without trying Four Loko for myself. So a few months ago I bought a four pack and tried one. It was disgusting. Absolutely disgusting. At least Sparks, for all it’s foulness, tasted like liquid Smarties. In fact the word that came to mind when I tried Four Loko was “kerosene.” As in, “ugh, this stuff tastes like kerosene.” It turns out my taste assessment was more spot on then I could have ever imagined.

Virginia wholesalers have been buying back Four Loko from retailers after the wave of bad publicity and criticism from government, health and consumer groups. With Four Loko now disappearing from shelves either voluntarily or by mandate, there’s a lot of surplus Four Loko to get rid of. So what to do with it?

Wholesalers from Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and other East Coast states started sending cases of the high-alcohol, caffeinated malt beverages to MXI Environmental Services in Virginia after the  Food and Drug Administration cracked down on the sale of such beverages in November.

So what will MXI be doing with all this excess Four Loko?

MXI distills the alcohol from the drinks, then sells the fuel to be blended into gasoline

Excellent. Coming soon to a road near you: a Four Loko powered car. So from now on, when someone tastes a food or beverage and says it tastes “like gasoline”, it may not be hyperbole. It turns out one mans drink is another mans (car) fuel.

4 Responses

  1. pedro sanchez

    Normally these posts are pretty entertaining, but this one is just so far off from scientific accuracy I was cringing the whole time

    Ethanol (C2H5OH) is the component of beer/wine/spirits that gets you drunk. It also is combustible in automobile engines, which has been known for a long time. It is NOT a normal component of gasoline, it is blended with gasoline. It does not smell or taste like any petrochemical product.

    While your post may have been technically accurate, the implication that it is somehow strange to turn Four Loko into fuel alcohol is misleading. You could take any mixture with ethanol in it and do the same thing, from Miller Lite to the finest Cognac.

  2. Eick


    Of course I implied it is strange to turn Four Loko into fuel alcohol. Because it is. Not because it is scientifically strange, but because how often is a product on a shelf being imbibed by Americans one day and then being turned into fuel alcohol the next? Pretty much never as far as I know. If you are aware of another case of this in recent history, let me know. If another case doesn’t exist, well then my implication that it is strange is 100% accurate.

    And yes, you can do this process with any type of alcohol, but you don’t because Miller Lite and Cognac aren’t being banned from stores.

    There is also sweet irony in the fact that while Miller Lite and Cognac don’t taste like gasoline, Four Loko actually kind of did.

  3. Becky

    Can’t say I’ve tried it, as I don’t think it’s available here. Was the product actually inherently dangerous or was it possible to enjoy it responsibly? In the case of the latter, I do feel quite sorry for the wholesalers, but at the same time, at least they’re not being left with huge inventories that they can’t shift.

    I can’t say I’ve ever heard of a beverage ever being converted to fuel either but it’s definitely better than just chucking the stuff out.


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