Originally Posted by Alumineer
You're thinking of methane, which is the primary constituent of natural gas.
Methanol is the alcoholized form of methane, and it is a liquid at room temperature. It's also called "methyl alcohol" and the water-diluted form is called "methyl hydrate", which is commonly available in home improvement stores.
Methanol is used as the base component for model airplane engine fuel, it's available mixed with gasoline in ratios up to 85% for use in car engines (with suitable adaptation for the fuel flow rate required, and the corrosiveness of methanol) and it's also the primary constituent of windshield washer fluid as an antifreeze. In Canada, windshield washer fluid usually has enough methanol to be rated to -40F / -40C.
I knew something seemed wrong when I was doing the post, but I didn't follow up my suspicion. Thanks for the correction.
I've seen -40˚ windshield washer fluid in Colorado, but more often lately it is -20˚. That may be because I moved to a warmer part of the state. Having experienced -40˚, I'm glad I'm not a windshield in the mountains.
Does methanol evaporate as quickly as rubbing alcohol? I remember people using some form of alcohol in their radiators—that was in the 1950's. After one season, it was too weak to work again. If methanol does evaporate fairly quickly, I guess windshield washer has a shelf life issue in the container and in the vehicle.