Its a fact
Petrol was produced from Cannock Chase Coal in the 1920's & 1930's
The Patent Economic Fuel Company
A distillation plant operated in the vicinity of Cannock and Leacroft Colliery. It was operated independently by W.B. Midford who undertook to take their fuel requirements from the colliery. It appears that the Company was set up in the 1920 but it failed in its aims and went into liquidation. This Company was indebted to the Cannock and Leacroft Company for a large amount of coal they had supplied. As no payment was forthcoming the Colliery Company took over the concern and endeavoured to run it at a profit.
Around 1933 another Company came in and apparently made it work for a while as the following report appeared in the Cannock Advertiser in 1934. The article was accompanied by a photograph of a car being fuelled with petrol on the site.
The headline read " THE CAR THAT RUNS ON LIQUID COAL"
Here's a car that runs on liquid coal - and the years 1934 The car was fuelled on the first petrol made from coal in Great Britain and it was pioneered right here on the Chase. The accompanying picture was sent in by reader Mrs Agnes Hough of Catsbridge Lane, Four Crosses, and Hatherton. The Leacroft Plant was set up 1933 and by 1934 coal mined from the Chase was being used in producing petrol.
Mr. E. W. Brocklebenk chief designer of the plant told the 'Advertiser' on July 28th 1934 that the project had passed the experimental stage and "had enough contracts for the next few years to justify increased production in petrol and smokeless fuel". He also said that he was intending to set up other production units both in this country and abroad. Around 150 tons of coal was used to produce 30,000 gallons of petrol each day.
Mr. E. W. Brocklebenk's claims seemed very ambitious because the petrol producing plant had disappeared by the 1940s.