Since the February Daytona 500, Americans with questions about ethanol's performance characteristics have been getting answers at NASCAR races nationwide. Every driver from Dale Jr. to Clint Bowyer, in all three NASCAR racing series has been running on a 15 percent ethanol blend. Today, NASCAR confirmed what millions of viewers have seen by officially announcing mid-level ethanol blends have now demonstrated their high-performance for more than 1 million driving miles. Considered by most America's toughest proving grounds, E15 has proven its fuel quality in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck series by maintaining high levels of performance while consistently providing normal mileage.
"Ethanol is an agricultural success story. It is an American success story. Now, it is a NASCAR success story too," said Michigan Corn Growers Association President and National Corn Growers Association Ethanol Committee Member Jeff Sandborn as he joined NASCAR to announce the study findings. "Jobs, less air pollution and reduced dependence on oil imports are all good reasons to use more ethanol. But first and foremost, consumers must be comfortable that it will perform well in their car. I can't imagine a better way to build that consumer confidence than having it track-tested by NASCAR."
The 'white paper,' "One Million Competition Miles on Sunoco Green E15" report, contains concrete data verifying E15's qualities as a fuel and substantiating these conclusions. With more than 1.3 million miles accumulated in practice, qualifying and racing laps in NASCAR racing vehicles, the report relies on a broad set of meticulously collected data. With everyone involved in this sport, from crew chiefs to fans, watching engine performance and mileage, no issue with E15 has emerged.
Additionally, drivers and crew chiefs have reported seeing a boost in horsepower related to ethanol because of its higher octane rating.
"The report's findings verify what farmers, ethanol producers and many in the automotive industry have known for decades, that ethanol is not only domestically produced and sustainable, but it is also a quality fuel that provides excellent performance," said NCGA CEO Rick Tolman. "But, it boils down to something much simpler. If this fuel is good enough for NASCAR champions like Jimmie Johnson, it is certainly good enough for me."
The release of the report is particularly timely as the Environmental Protection Agency, and environmental officials and Americans nationwide, are currently celebrating National Pollution Prevention Week. According to the EPA, pollution prevention is the cornerstone of sustainability.
"Before NASCAR switched its fuel to Sunoco Green E15 at the start of the 2011 racing season, there was extensive analysis and deep consideration about the decision," said Mike Lynch, Managing Director of Green Innovation for NASCAR. "Successfully transitioning to the new fuel and surpassing a million miles, all on America's toughest proving ground, is a validation of Sunoco Green E15 as a high-performance racing fuel and is part of our overall effort to go green. NASCAR is proud to use this American-made product because it creates American jobs while also reducing harmful emissions."
In switching to E15, NASCAR not only chose a quality alternative fuel that reduces harmful emissions, it invested in American jobs, American agriculture and American energy independence. Economic studies prove that ethanol creates and supports more than 400,000 jobs domestically which cannot be outsourced.
"Ethanol brings renewed prosperity for family farmers as well as the businesses that rely on them," said Sandborn. "Ask equipment makers, seed companies, rural banks, schools and local governments about the impact ethanol-driven corn demand has had on their success."
NASCAR's switch to the new fuel was borne out of a partnership with American Ethanol. Representing a wide array of ethanol supporters, from farmers to bio-engineering firms, American Ethanol was established by a collaborative venture including NCGA, Growth Energy and others. By establishing a marketing partnership with NASCAR starting with the 2011 racing season, the same year that NASCAR switched its fuel to Sunoco Green E15, American Ethanol aims to educate and inform the broader American public about the benefits of U.S.-made ethanol.
"Farmers across America have been using ethanol fuel in engines, large and small, successfully for decades and NASCAR's move to Sunoco Green E15 has thrown public acceptance into a higher gear," said NCGA President Bart Schott. "E15 is performing like a champ in the most rigorous driving conditions on the planet and that's good news for everyone who supports renewable fuels."