The Road to 10 Million Miles

Growth Energy's Drive column in the November EPM: The 10-million-mile mark is an incredible milestone for American Ethanol and our industry, and every mile on that journey is a reminder that E15 is the fuel of the present and the future.
By Emily Skor | October 18, 2016

The nation’s most popular motor sport, NASCAR, adopted Sunoco Green E15 in 2011 as its official race fuel. Every vehicle in the sport has been running on the fuel ever since, including the Camping World Truck Series, the XFINITY Series and the Sprint Cup Series. This, month American Ethanol will have powered NASCAR for 10 million miles of competitive racing. It’s obvious that 10 million miles is an enormous distance driven, but what does that number really mean?

Ten million miles means that E15 has withstood the rigors of the most demanding competitive motorsports environment in the world and passed each test with flying colors. NASCAR is above all else, a proving ground. It is a proving ground for drivers, mechanics, pit crews and, of course, fuel. If a driver is off his or her game, or someone in the pit crew makes a mistake, it will be painfully obvious out on the track. Similarly, if a fuel is not doing its job, it has nowhere to hide in NASCAR.

The good news is, E15 has nothing to hide. It is a high-octane fuel that also helps cool the engine to help it operate at full throttle without overheating. E15 displaces toxic carcinogens known to cause cancer and smog, and by teaching consumers that it burns cleaner and cooler, so it’s better for their cars’ engines and for our air, they will come to understand why ethanol is so important to Americans. The fact that E15 provides an octane boost with a more environmentally friendly emissions profile, all while saving consumers money at the pump, is truly a win-win-win. 

We know that E15 is one of the most tested fuels in history. The U.S. DOE tested E15 in 86 vehicles for 6 million miles and didn’t find a single issue related to emissions or engine performance. Meanwhile, drivers have traveled over 300 million miles using E15. It’s becoming more widely available, too. In addition to the E15 that is already available in more than half of the United States, through Prime the Pump, we have secured roughly 800 retail sites for E15/E85 with 10 of the largest retail chains in the nation: Sheetz, Thorntons, Kum & Go, RaceTrac, Cenex, Minnoco, Protec, Family Express, MAPCO and Murphy USA.

Consumer access and education are absolutely essential to making higher ethanol blends of American ethanol the new normal at the pump. So, what does 10 million miles ultimately mean to the consumer? It means that E15 is a fuel they can trust. E15 has been put to the test for 10 million miles on the track and 300 million off the track. Those 10 million miles on the track mean that the best drivers, mechanics and pit crews in the world make their living and win championships on American ethanol. The 10-million-mile mark is an incredible milestone for American Ethanol and our industry, and each day and every individual mile on that journey is another reminder that E15 is the fuel of the present and the future.

Author: Emily Skor
CEO, Growth Energy
[email protected]