31 years ago today El Paso inventor Tom Ogle gained national attention when he drove a Times reporter from El Paso to Deming and back on two gallons of gas. Ogle's invention never took off. If you google his name you will find many theories as to why it didn't. Here is the article from May 1, 1977 and an article that ran after Ogle's death in 1981.
By John Doussard
"Once I get to Deming and back I'll have everybody banging at my door!" Tom Ogle exclaimed. It was as uncommon sentiment that may very well prove to be true.
the 24-year-old inventor mechanic climbed behind the wheel of his
1970 Ford Galaxy and headed down the road toward both the dusty New Mexico
town and possible fame, fortune and a solution to the energy crisis.
With only two gallons of gasoline in the tank, Ogle offered strong evidence that the tangle of red hoses and tubes racing between the back of the 5,000 pound car and the engine performed as billed: delivering over 100 miles to the gallon while averaging close to 60 miles per hour.
Indeed, in a day of automotive and personal triumph, the only sour note was sounded when Ogle failed to bring his gas-saver back into El Paso as planned. On the outskirts of town, just a few miles from his final goal, a rock struck the underside of the car,puncturing a filter and allowing the gas fumes the auto travels to escape.
But it really hardly mattered at that point. Ogle had traveled 205 miles on slightly less than two gallons of gas.Some of the precious liquid had been spilled when first poured in the tank.
"I use about four gallons of gas every two weeks," Ogle said. "But then I drive an awful lot."
Actually, Saturday's performance was rather modest. Ogle claims his system will average about 160 miles per gallon in city driving, treatment average of 12 miles per gallon.
"I fixed-up my car, a 1972 Thunderbird with a 429 cubic inch engine, with the system," Ogle said. "I then took it to Cloudcroft and back on two gallons, about 200 miles.
"And I still had enough to drive around when I got back in town."
The odd thing about Ogle's system is that doesn't add complex gadgets and intricate gimmicks. Instead, it removes the carburetor, a piece of the engine long considered sacred.
"Engineers said it wouldn't work because without a carburetor there's nothing to vaporize the fuel," Ogle explained during the trip across the hot dessert. "They couldn't understand that it's already working on vapors.
"Instead everybody kept trying to add something to the carburetor while nobody thought of taking the thing off."
Basically the system uses a standard engine with a few modifications In lieu of the carburetor there is a series of hoses feeding a mixture of gas vapors and air directly into the engine.
Gas in the tank passes through a series of filters, which stretch the energy available in each gallon. The invention also store excess vapors for later use for up to 45 days. Premium gas is needed, as its higher octane level allows for more vapors to build.
Not only does Ogle's car promise more miles per gallon, but he says it will clean the environment while causing its owner fewer repair headaches.
"It will top anything on the road today, being smoother, better running and more efficient," Ogle said. "The life of your car will be two times longer because there will be no carbon build-up.
"The carbon comes from unburned gas, but we burn it all.You won't have need all the catalytic converters for the air."
Before the journey began, two Times reporters looked the car over for possible hidden sources of fuel, and found none. Then a brief ceremony emptying the gas tank, and after the last drop fell, two gallons were poured back in.
While only an expert could say for sure the trip was completed with only those two gallons, spectators, reporters and other interested inventors present all appeared satisfied.
"This is the hottest thing of this century," Frank Haynes, Jr. an independent engineer living in this area, said. "Engineers have been beating their heads against the wall to come up with something like this.
"I honestly don't think it's a hoax."
Aug 20, 1981
EP inventor of "Oglemobile" dead at age 26
By CARMEN BUSTILLOS And STEVE PETERS
A scared and depressed Tom Ogle, 26, inventor of the "Oglemobile," Tuesday went to Smugglers Inn for another night of drinking - his last.
At about 2 a.m. Wednesday, Ogle went to the home of his girlfriend, Sylvia Rangle. As they talked, Ogle collapsed, police Lt. John Lanahan said.
Ogle was revived three times by Emergency Medical Services technicians en route to Eastwood Hospital but was dead on arrival, Lanahan said.
The tranquilizer Darvon had been mentioned as a possible complication to Ogle's heavy drinking, which officers detected when they responded to the call. Lanahan said it would not be known what medication Ogle was taking until an autopsy was performed.
Drinking heavily and taking tranquilizers had become a way of life for her son, said Helga Armstrong, who last saw Ogle, on drugs, Saturday.
Ogle's mother said her son "owed money to Tim Strayer and he was scared to death."
She said Ogle had been in Sierra Medical Center and that his doctor told her she should have him committed.
"But I couldn't bring myself to do it. If I had known what he was going to do, maybe then ..." Mrs. Armstrong said mournfully.
Ogle's wonder car, the "Oglemobile," used an inventive vaporized fuel system that eliminated the need for a carburetor.
Along with Ogle's sudden national attention came partner problems, royalty and patent conflicts and bills.
In June 1978, Ogle sold the marketing rights of his invention to a Seattle firm. Advanced Fuel Systems Inc.
Six months later, the Securities Exchange Commission slapped an injunction on the Seattle firm claiming fraud provisions of federal securities laws.
"He grew up in poverty, a young inventor who appears to have made it big and then everyone just skinned him," Ogle's lawyer, Bobby Perel, said.
Perel saw the inventor a week before his death. He described Ogle as being depressed. He said Ogle was broke and trying to sell his possessions.
The lawyer represents Ogle in a suit filed against Strayer in June, stating that he was forced to sign away 22 percent of his royalties to his gas-saving vaporized fuel system he invented.
Ogle said in his lawsuit Strayer and others forced him to sign away the royalties to cover his losses in a series of pool games.
"He was angry that those pool hustlers and gambler shad beguiled him out of his royalty interest. They had skinned him." Perel said.
"There was a group of professional gamblers and they got him drunk and just hustled him for everything he was worth," Perel said. "He was depressed over that."
He also said Ogle was concerned that the Seattle, Wash., firm that bought his rights to the gas-saving invention had indicated it would withhold his royalty interest.
"He was suppose to go to Dallas Tuesday because he had a job offer from a big company. I guess he never made it, Mrs. Armstrong said tearfully.