Mr. G. T. FULFORD (Leeds):
Mr. Speaker, it is not my intention to take up much of the time of the house, nor do I wish this small effort of mine to be classed as a maiden speech. I shall leave that sweet anticipation for the house to some later time. I rise only to make a comment on Canada's all important product of wheat. The previous speaker said: "You cannot make coal out of wheat, you can make moonshine out of wheat." But the very point I want to bring out is that industrial alcohol, not moonshine, could be used to run our automobiles. Several years ago, while driving through a number of European countries, I found that they were using a type of motor fuel which, to all intents and purposes, was at least as good as the gasoline we use in Canada; in fact it was better in that it did not cause "knock". When I asked gasoline station men I was told that it contained gasoline and alcohol. The percentage of alcohol varied, according to the particular country, from ten per cent to twenty-five per cent, and it was compulsory that this alcohol should be made in the country in which the motor fuel was being sold.
It so happens that wheat is one of the best materials from which alcohol can be derived. Last year Canadians used 800,000,000 gallons of gasoline, most of it imported. Were ten per cent of alcohol required by law to be included in our gasoline, it would mean that
Canadian Wheat Board
80.000. 000 gallons of alcohol would be used. I base this estimate oh last year's figures; they may be higher thaa the consumption this year. Two gallons of alcohol can be made from one bushel of wheat. In other words, upon the basis of a ten per cent solution we would consume 40,000,000 bushels of wheat in the production of alcohol for this purpose. If twenty per cent were required, 80,000,000 bushels of wheat would be used. The maximum alcohol content which can be included in gasoline for use in modern carburetors and internal combustion engines is twenty-five per cent. If that amount were required, it would mean that we could consume 100,000,000 bushels of wheat in the manufacture of alcohol for the motor cars of Canada.
In 1936 France produced 91,000,000 gallons of alcohol; Germany, 62,000,000 gallons; Italy,
24.000. 000 gallons. What was the reason for this production? None of these countries had a surplus of wheat. It was: First, to encourage agriculture; second, to conserve foreign exchange, inasmuch as gasoline fuel had to be imported. I might add, while on this subject, that the alcohol produced in the countries I have mentioned was distilled, not from wheat but from potatoes and sugar beets.
The National Research Council of Canada have issued an interesting pamphlet on this subject. The big drawback to the inclusion of alcohol in motor fuel is the cost. Alcohol can be produced from 70 cent wheat at approximately 40 cents a gallon. Adding a ten per cent alcohol solution to gasoline would increase the present price of gasoline by approximately 2i cents a gallon. That is a fairly substantial increase, especially in respect of a commodity so largely used as is motor fuel. However, under the circumstances would it not be economical for Canada, rather than to bear the heavy cost of storage and other expenses connected with our tremendous wheat carryover, to bonus to a certain extent the cost of this alcohol so that, when it is added to gasoline, the price of the fuel would be but slightly more than that of the motor fuel we are using to-day? Undoubtedly the advantages to us would be substantial. To some extent our wheat surplus would be absorbed. What is almost as important when one considers how we are trying to conserve foreign exchange to carry on our war effort, it would save Canadian dollars for Canada and reduce the amount which is now going out of the country for the purchase of petroleum products from the United States and elsewhere.
Certain countries within recent times have, according to this pamphlet, gone actively into the subject of producing motor fuel from alcohol. I refer to Brazil, Cuba, the Philippine [Mr. Fulford.l
islands and Hungary; I mention that because, after 1936, in Europe less and less alcohol was added to gasoline, chiefly because in 1937 Europe had very poor crops, and after that year what alcohol was produced was conserved for war purposes.
At the outset of these few remarks I said that this was not my maiden speech. I am merely throwing out a few observations by way of suggestions to the government. Incidentally, before closing, let me say that certain chemicals can be added to alcohol for use as motor fuel so that it cannot be redistilled for beverage or "moonshine" purposes, or cannot be otherwise treated so as to evade excise tax.
I have been extremely brief; in fact, I have given only the barest outline of the possible use of alcohol made from wheat for motor fuel. I hope that my remarks will not have been in vain, and that they may give rise to some measure which will assist in alleviating this tremendous problem which is facing us all in Canada.
Topic: CANADIAN WHEAT BOARD ACT
Subtopic: AMENDMENTS ARISING OUT OF LOSS OF OVERSEAS MARKETS, EXISTING STOCKS AND HANDLING OF 1940 CROP-INITIAL PAYMENT OF 70 CENTS