USGC: Indy 500 highlights ethanol’s role in racing, global market

By U.S. Grains Council | June 16, 2022

Delegations from Japan, South Korea, India and Indonesia recently traveled to the United States to take part in the Indianapolis 500. Hosted by the U.S. Grains Council in collaboration with the Indiana Corn Marketing Council, the group was able to see firsthand the role ethanol plays in the annual automobile race.

Exposing international stakeholders to the U.S. value chain allows them to learn and incorporate practices that have helped develop the U.S. industry. Stakeholder visits like this help position the United States as a technical resource to countries interested in developing favorable ethanol policies to help meet their carbon reduction commitments.

Before heading to Indianapolis, two teams of officials, traders and media members traveled to Illinois and Missouri, learning how the U.S. ethanol industry has developed and seeing firsthand the entire U.S. value chain.

Fourteen participants from Indonesia, Japan and Korea were in Illinois to gain on-the-ground experience including stops at farms, retail stations and ethanol plants.

In a similar fashion, a group of 11 participants from India’s automobile trade, government and petroleum industry were in Missouri to get a better understanding of the U.S. ethanol value chain and the environmental, economic and health benefits ethanol presents. Discussions at the various facilities spanned across the technology of ethanol pumps, retail infrastructure and production capacity.

Upon arriving in Indiana, both groups had the opportunity to meet with several drivers competing in the race before taking part in an educational session on ethanol blending and its benefits. The group heard from several speakers during the session: ethanol distributors and retailers, an automotive repair shop and a race organizing agency. The presentations facilitated technical conversations about best practices for ethanol blending among participants from the various countries.

“The Indy 500 was an innovative opportunity to show the benefits of ethanol within the racing industry. Participants were intrigued to hear IndyCar drivers talk about the engine performance and safety ethanol provides as a racing fuel,” said Joana Hassan, USGC manager of global ethanol programs.

On race day, the group toured the IndyCar garage at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway before watching Swedish driver Marcus Ericsson take the trophy.

Face-to-face connections are crucial in enhancing the mission of the Council – developing markets, enabling trade and improving lives. By welcoming this team to the States, the Council was able to showcase the high-quality commodities it represents and relationships it has with growers and industry representatives across the country.

“We are grateful to our state partners, Illinois Corn and Missouri Corn, for hosting the teams in their states and the Indiana Corn Marketing Council for the opportunity to show ethanol’s benefits,” Hassan said.