The gasoline pill or gasoline powder is one of several fictitious or fraudulent concoctions that claim to turn water into gasoline, which can be used to run an automobile. The gasoline pill is one of several suppressed inventions that circulate as urban legends. Usually these urban legends allege a conspiracy theory that the oil industry seeks to suppress the technology that turns water to gasoline. A more current gasoline pill claims to improve gasoline efficiency by 20%....
In the United States, the best known claim to have created a gasoline pill was the work of one Guido Franch, who was active from the 1950s through the 1970s. Franch called the resulting liquid Mota fuel, mota being atom spelled backwards.
Guido Franch was a blue collar worker who lived in Livingston, Illinois. His invention was a green powder that was added to water, which he claimed had actually been invented by a fictitious German scientist named Dr. Alexander Kraft. Franch took money from a number of small investors who read about his claims in the National Tattler or a similar publication. In what became a frequent motif, he claimed that the water-into-gasoline powder formula could not be disclosed for fear that the oil industry would have it suppressed. Franch, when pressed into providing samples of his transmutation powder, produced samples of green food coloring.
As a result of his activities, Franch was prosecuted several times for fraud. His first trial, in 1954, resulted in his acquittal when a prosecution witness admitted that it might be possible that "mota fuel" worked. His second trial, in 1979, resulted in his conviction.
In 1916, Louis Enricht claimed to have a water to gasoline pill. Enricht was convicted of fraud in a related case, claiming to have a method for extracting gasoline from peat, and served time in Sing Sing prison. In 1917, John Andrews pitched a water to gasoline powder to the United States Navy. Andrews disappeared after making his pitch, but it turned out that he had returned to Canada, where he was serving in the Canadian Navy.
In 1996, Ramar Pillai claimed to be able to transmute water to gasoline by a herbal formula that he claimed was the result of a miraculous bush. Pillai obtained 20 acres of land to cultivate his bush, but in fact it turned out that he was using sleight of hand to substitute kerosene for the liquid he claimed to have derived from the bush....