Four Loko Could Soon Power Your Car

Cases of Four Loko and other alcohol-spiked energy drinks are on their way to MXI Environmental Services in Virginia where they’ll be turned into ethanol and other products.  Wholesalers from Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and other East Coast states are sending truckloads of the stuff to be recycled following a ‘crackdown’ by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in November, according to yesterday’s Salon.

Last fall, Ramapo College in northern New Jersey banned the drinks after six students were taken to the hospital after drinking cans of Four Loko.  Several college students noted that ‘Four Loko and similar drinks were catching on among their peers because they were cheap and potent yet did not taste like alcohol.’  

Also, the drinks are highly accessible.  One of my students told me that they could be purchased at CVS, not to mention convenience stores like 7-11.

On November 17, the FDA sent letters to four companies producing the alcohol-laced, caffeinated drinks noting that consumption of them can render a person a  “wide-awake drunk.” (Indeed, the drinks have been referred to as ‘blackout in a can.’) The letters were sent to Phusion Projects, Charge Beverages Corp., New Century Brewing Co. and United Brands Company Inc. Two years ago, Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors removed their Bud Extra, Tilt and Sparks drinks from the market after pressure from their state’s attorney generals.

According to Brian Potter, vice president of operations at MXI’s facility in Abington, Virginia, the alcohol is distilled from the drinks and then sold so it can be blended into gasoline. The aluminum cans are sold to a recycler and the drinks’s water, cardboard packaging and shipping pallets are all recycled, too. 

It’s been asked if Four Loko and drinks like it should be banned. Hopefully hearing that these ‘beverages’ can be turned into ethanol—gasoline—will make people realize how bad this stuff is and certainly not something that you want to drink.

Previous Posts are Care2:
Will the FDA Rule Against Alcoholic Energy Drinks?

Photo from wikimedia commons.


Teddie S.
Teddie S7 years ago

Kudos for recycling!
There is always someone that is going to over imbibe, so in order to protect the few, we take the choice away from others.

monica r.
monica r8 years ago

They probably only distilled it into fuel products because the toxic waste fines were too high to pour it down the drain.

In the ingestible form it is not car fuel, and it is disingenuous of the author to imply that because you can turn it into ethanol it is somehow inedible. Lots of plant foods can become ethanol. Corn is a common source in the US. In Brazil used sugar cane is processed to make ethanol.

I'm sure four loko is bad for you, and I have no wish to try it, but is isn't the same as drinking car fuel.

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman8 years ago


Sumit jamadar
Sumit jamadar8 years ago


Catalina D.
Catalina D8 years ago

thanks for posting!

Thomas Lee B.
Thomas Lee B8 years ago

Some people will sell anything. Some will buy it.

Kris G.
Kris G.8 years ago


David N.
David N8 years ago

Thanks for the article. It's good to hear that they are doing good with this stuff instead of dumping it.

Michelle M.
Michelle M8 years ago


Maria S.
Maria S8 years ago

Nice one =) Thanks