Monday, December 6, 2010

NASCAR Media And Ethanol Reality (Updated)


Fans watching the NASCAR.com live stream of the Myers Brothers luncheon last Thursday from Las Vegas saw something very interesting. Amid the checks and awards being handed out to drivers and crew chiefs, NASCAR Chairman Brian France took the podium.

His professionally-crafted message included a video presentation, a patriotic theme and several guests. France offered a hard sell of what has become a personal mission for the chairman. It was all about American ethanol. Click here to see the presentation.

It was 2007 when IndyCar promoted that its top series would run totally on US ethanol in a major political move fronted by the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC). Today, the IndyCar Series gets 100% of its ethanol from Brazil and the abandoned EpicInfo.com website can be yours for $2,495 from HugeDomains.com.

The new group fronting US ethanol and partnering with NASCAR in a six year high-dollar promotion is called Growth Energy. Click here for the organization's website. A big part of the new venture and pictured above is retired four-star US Army General Wesley Clark. His message last Thursday about increasing US ethanol consumption included the fact it would help "national security."

All types of media organizations covering NASCAR, energy issues and the ethanol industry passed along the message delivered at the luncheon. Click here for the Growth Energy Facebook page and that carries the same message.

Click here for a rather different take on the proceedings. Michael Knight is a veteran PR and media type with a long history in IndyCar and motorsports.

Here is an excerpt from Knight's blog:

Color NASCAR’s second Sprint Cup awards activities in Las Vegas green. But, for a few moments last Thursday, I was trying so hard to keep from laughing that I was close to blue.

What had me amused, other legitimate considerations aside, this clearly was at least an indirect shot at the IndyCar Series. NASCAR has many ways to play the racing political game and in the aftermath of the unhappy IndyCar-International Speedway Corp. split, this was an example of who still has the muscle in the U.S. motorsports industry.

Remember, when IndyCar went to ethanol a few years ago it was using corn ethanol in association with a U.S. trade group (EPIC). When said trade organization went belly-up, IndyCar had to go to Brazil for its ethanol.

Now NASCAR has staked its claim to the red, white and blue benefits of green and that’s no coincidence. It’s a political shot across the bow of the IndyCar series. NASCAR is even copying IndyCar’s E-logo on the green flag.


Knight seems skeptical of France's claim that the environment is actually driving the Growth Energy deal. So, let's take a look at two ethanol stories. Dr. Diandra Leslie-Pelecky is the author of The Physics of NASCAR: The Science behind the Speed.

Click here to read her take on the ethanol issue. Here is an excerpt:

It is very difficult to find anyone in the energy field who will argue that corn ethanol is a sustainable fuel or a wise choice for the future. Corn is a high-maintenance energy source and virtually no one not associated with the corn lobby is arguing that making corn production more efficient will make enough of a dent in the problem to be worthwhile.

Now let’s look at the argument that ethanol is a cleaner burning fuel. Ethanol produces less carbon dioxide per gallon than gasoline; however, since ethanol only contains 2/3 the energy (gallon for gallon), you have to use more ethanol than gasoline to go the same distance. By the time you factor in those two issues, pure ethanol actually produces more carbon dioxide than pure gasoline when you compare carbon dioxide produced per energy.


Three days after posting the article and then appearing on NASCAR Sirius channel 128 to discuss the ethanol issue, Dr. Diandra posted this on her Twitter account:

If you are following me for NASCAR, please unfollow, as I won't be tweeting about NASCAR any more in the future. Thanks.

For many years, Dr. Diandra was a fan and media favorite for NASCAR topics explained from a scientific perspective. She has not posted on the Building Speed blog or returned to address any NASCAR topics since that day.

Many consider the 2008 Time Magazine story titled The Clean Energy Scam by Michael Grunwald a definitive piece on the reality of ethanol. Click here to read the article.

Here are some sentences from the Grunwald piece that leap off the page:

Corn ethanol, always environmentally suspect, turns out to be environmentally disastrous.

The grain it takes to fill an SUV tank with ethanol could feed a person for a year.

The lesson behind the math is that on a warming planet, land is an incredibly precious commodity, and every acre used to generate fuel is an acre that can't be used to generate the food needed to feed us or the carbon storage needed to save us.


Update 1PM ET 12/6/10: Here are two more links passed along by readers that address this topic:

Click here for the Denver Post story: Tide Ebbing For Ethanol?

This is stunning: "Producers of ethanol made from corn receive 73 cents to provide an amount of biofuel with the energy equivalent to that in one gallon of gasoline."

That's 73 cents in federal tax subsidies, says the Congressional Budget Office — or 45 cents for every gallon of ethanol blended into gasoline.


Click here for the New York Times story: Gore Riles Corn Ethanol Lobby

“First-generation ethanol, I think, was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small,” Al Gore said. “It’s hard once such a program is put in place to deal with the lobbies that keep it going.”

Right now, the NASCAR partnership with Growth Energy is just a series of announcements and media releases. Most of us only know that E:85 from Sunoco works fine in the gas tanks of our cars but not too well in everything from string trimmers to boat engines.

The upcoming rule changes in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series were set to be the key media stories of 2011. Instead, when France reappears on January 21 at Daytona to preview the season, it may well be questions about what goes in the fuel tanks of NASCAR's top three series that generate the headlines.

We welcome your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

47 comments:

Bobby said...

It's known that ethanol-laden racing fuel is common on drag strips and short tracks, as most unleaded racing gas from Sunoco, VP, Rockett, or any other brand is ethanol-laced ("oxygenated")

However, the political moves of ethanol-blended gasolines is inappropriate. 100% ethanol or 100% gasoline is what is needed for racing. We've seen in ALMS the dangers of E10 fuel when a pit fire erupted. The no-gasoline rule in IndyCar is a byproduct of a 1964 crash. If NASCAR wants to go ethanol, go only 100% for safety (as we saw alcohol fuel is a safer fuel than straight gas or mixed fuels from racing fuel fires).

A federal law passed in 2007 that helped destroy Detroit also contained a mandate to produce excessive amounts of ethanol for fuel, and the feds recently allowed 15% ethanol as part of this mandate.

I wonder how many engines will corrode and blow up because of such fuels. Also how many fewer laps shall we see each car be able to run because of it?

KoHoSo said...

If NASCAR's switch to ethanol is being driven by some kind of jealousy of IndyCar, then that just goes to show how blind the leadership in Daytona Beach is these days. The need to wave NASCAR's "manhood" in the face of another series that is only famous these days for a one-win pretty face and a guy better known for his dancing -- and all the while having generally lower television ratings than a late-night infomercial -- is almost as ridiculous as the premise that corn-based ethanol is a viable energy alternative.

Don't get me wrong -- I love the IndyCars as much as NASCAR...I'm just not blind to the reality of where that series is at right now. I'm also a huge proponent of getting this country to look at every possible alternative energy source so we are not funding people that blindly hate America every time we fill up our gas tanks (plus buy any other petroleum-based product).

I am just stunned that anybody still buys into the corn-based ethanol myth...well, except when I remember that any Presidential hopeful from either party needs to do well in Iowa...and that starts getting us far too close to politics here so I'll just stop while I sit here and wonder if I can really put up with another year of Brian France's idiocy while being "re-branded" and out-and-out scammed.

ShaggyDogRacing said...

Good article. Sad to see NASCAR falling victim to the green hype around ethanol. As Dr. Leslie-Pelecky learned, the PC crowd will never let facts get in the way of their well-intentioned, but badly misguided mission. Even Al Gore, an early proponent of ethanol has come out recently saying it was terrible policy and has caused food prices to increase. Sure miss the older, wiser Frances.

tiamatsrevenge said...

Anything that has Wesley the Weasel involved in it, I know is a fraud and scam ...

Ethanol is NOT good for racing as you cannot easily see the flames when a fire breaks out ... esp IF the fire is ON the driver ...

Only a few years ago, one could go to the grocery and get 10 ears of corn for $1 ... Now, you're lucky if you can get 4 for $1 on sale ... This IS because of the stupid corn-based ethanol industry ... It raises the price of corn we buy to eat (canned / cob / frozen/ tortillas / cornmeal), but it also raises the cost of corn that's used for animal feed ...

Those of us on the West Coast have no idea "how" Sunoco's E85 affects our vehicles as Sunoco has no retail outlets ...


Sorry, but Baby Brain Dead Brian has struck out again ... and frankly, I'm soooo tired of it ... that I'm about to give up on NASCAR completely ...

Auto Journalist said...

More alcohol-fueled nonsense from Baby Boy Brian and his Circus of Duh. Has anyone from Sunoco bothered to tell the Clown Prince of Daytona that you can't actually drink the stuff?

Sure, ethanol's proven as a decent fuel in competition - just look at Corvette Racing's E85-powered C6.R Vette that won Petit Le Mans this year - but the dirty little secret? In sports car racing, E85 cars get a substantially bigger fuel tank, because the stuff burns a LOT faster.

More power? Sure. More efficient? Greener? Better in any way? Dream on.

Anonymous said...

Leave it to TDP to start an intelligent conversation about the scam called ethanol(corn or cellulosic). Congress approved liability protection to a gasoline additive called MTBE. It was proven to contaminate ground water and Congresses protection ended five or so years ago. Everyone scrambled to corn ethanol to fill the gap with 50+ cent/gal subsidies to blend it and 50+ cent/gal tariffs to keep sugar cane ethanol (from Brazil) from gumming up Sen. Grassley sop to the farmers. Today,we're using roughly thirty per cent of our corn crop to produce roughly five per cent of our gasoline. Where would the corn come from and at what price to get ethanol up to, let's say fifty per cent? Ridiculous considering water requirements and the adverse effect on other grain commodities that are being grown less to make more acreage available for corn. I just love the phrases "energy independancr" and "national security". Our largest imports of crude oil are from Canada and Mexico. The United States is sitting on all kinds of oil,but is unique in that it refuses to take advantage of safely extracting them. Those wanting to "save the planet" I guess are happier with oil contamination around the drill sites in Africa instead of safely drilling here. There have been over 30,000 wells drilled in the Gulf,and yes,through BP's shortcuts,we've given Barry an excuse to further kill jobs in the drilling industry. As for Wesley Clark, you can't be serious. What a fraud. I have nothing to do with the oil industry. I'm just an old retired business man that survived by focusing on facts and not psychobabble!

terri said...

And believe it or not....well, you may as well believe...our government gives a great big subsidy to the US ethanol-producing folks, making US ethanol much more expensive than ethanol from, let's say - Brazil. So our trading partners are pissed at us, the price of corn is sky-high, and the "go green" people are laughing all the way to the bank.

And thanks to you, Congress, for believing all this boatload of BS that Al Gore has told you.

Anonymous said...

Anybody that looks at brainless Brian’s leadership decisions knows that going to ethanol was based solely on him getting more money and to heck with everybody else. The PR and marketing spin industries just stun me with what they come up with when putting lipstick on a pig and telling the people they now get a miracle. They have no shame – free speech means it is okay to tell a lie. The cost of going to ethanol will be enormous when you figure in all the factors, but the costs will be borne by everyone but brainless Brian who will come out in the money. As stated before, these are sad times for nascar and it is only going to get worse. We can only hope that it will not be too long for new leadership that cares about the racing and the fans. Guess I’ll get fired over this. MC

Anonymous said...

I've gotten sooo tired of Kenny Wallace's ranting about the benefits of using ethanol as fuel.

Bottom line: don't use food resources as fuel. It raises the cost of food and destroys engine parts. That's not political, that is just fact.

Bobby said...

tiamatsrevenge,

They've known that about alcohol fires in USAC/CART/IRL since 1965 and the inability to see the flames. Johnny Rutherford's alcohol-fueled car didn't burn the way Eddie Sachs and Dave McDonald's cars burned, killing their drivers, in the major crash in 1964 "500".

On pit road in those races they usually have buckets of water to fight fires since diluting the alcohol fuel usually does the trick. Drivers are familiar with the fact you cannot see alcohol fires so the safety workers usually douse the drivers with water if the driver thinks he's on fire.

Also rules in Indy car racing require after every pit stop the car be sprayed with water to dilute it as a fire prevention technique. It was a safety device, not a political device.

Anonymous said...

I can't think of anything that would turn me away from NASCAR more than the #48 dominating the series by making it a bore for fans who wanted a variety of winners.

Wait. I just thought of one. Getting on the (liberal) "Green-hype" bandwagon. Way to go Brian.

I already despise the propaganda forced at us now, at home and at work. If NASCAR truly wants to be "Green" then they should stop racing. Seriously.

51 yr. fan said...

JD, I want to thank you for what I
consider to your best column since
finding the Planet a couple years
ago. It saddens me that the good
Dr. is no longer providing her
expertise to the fans. Her book
on The Physics of Nascar was a good read and is great for all the
wanna-be racers. Brain Farce
is following the Hollyweird and
tree huggers without any input from
the common sense folks. I chuckled
when reading how the E85 has to be
handled at the race track to prevent moisture. It's a good lesson for everyone whose trimmer and mower is gving them trouble.

Again, thanks for the myth busting.

Anonymous said...

Wonder what kind of pressure they could have put on Dr Diandra. I mean, she doesn't work for them in any way, and doesn't need a hard card.

I am very into the environment (yes, call me a tree hugger), but most of us have known for a while that the corn/ethanol thing was not the way to go for the reasons already mentioned (I believe they are working on using other methods without corn as the source...) Shaggy--it has nothing to do with being 'PC'. It's about doing the right thing (reducing our dependency on fossil fuels for environmental & economic/political reasons). We should have put a better effort forth starting in 1973, but for some reason I don't get, Americans would rather fight a war than find sustainable alternative energies.

But in any case, knowing NASCAR, we know it's all about money. I live in a corn growing state & we have already seen this in action (although I have not seen a sharpe increase in prices as others noted.) It's also about NASCAR thinking we're dumb enough to fall for this. Just like the 'branding' issue, they don't seem to get that we have the ability to think for ourselves and understand the issues.

Anonymous said...

Just more proof that NASCAR is out of touch. Does Brian France really believe that a "green sport" is on the minds of fans? Does he think that making the sport more green is even on the top 10 list of NASCAR improvements wanted by fans?

I for one do not buy into the whole global warming hoax. From the ClimateGate leaked emails to the recent WikiLeaks secret document release, there is ample evidence that the climate change lobby is a total fraud, and that initiatives like ethanol do nothing to help the environment.

NASCAR: Stop promoting the global warming hoax to your fans, most of whom don't believe it to begin with.

GinaV24 said...

It's a shame about Dr. Diandre -- I always enjoyed her columns since she is smart. Guess didn't like her "message". Big surprise - it doesn't fit with their happy happy joy joy statements.

Brian wants to "go green", well, then be smart about it and consider the cost and the safety aspects.

Scary when you realize that a field of corn will feed many people and will be so much less effective in powering vehicles. Sad that it makes better politics to change the fuel policy than to feed the hungry.

Zieke said...

CORN FOR FUEL is fine if it's extra. Corn for food is better, and the hungry people of the world need it far more than race cars do.The rest is BS. End of story.

OSBORNK said...

King Brian is just trying to connect with the roots that started NASCAR except he is a little confused. He read that NASCAR was started by people who had cars filled with alcohol made from corn. He misunderstood and thought they were talking about the cars burning the alcohol rather than delivering it. The pioneers of NASCAR would never understand how anyone could ruin perfectly good moonshine by mixing it with gas.

Donna in FL said...

I'm not qualified to discuss the mechanics of ethanol but I can see where NASCAR is looking for partner money while wanting to project the image of getting away from using majority foreign oil. I have no problem with that. My problem is where they have decided to place their business. I have been totally against the production of blended fuel from the food part of plants since Day 1 it was invented. It has been proven here & in SA that using plant waste is just as good, ie corn husks. So I'm disappointed about that. As for global warming, deny all you want, argue about its source, doesn't matter because it's happening anyway. Its the planetary cycle & not man made but I have no problem with reducing emissions either, something else that's more than 50 years overdue.
As for NASCAR team engine builders adapting to the new fuel, I imagine it will become easier to do once fuel injection is allowed.

Donna in FL said...

PS so does anyone else see a bitter irony in Jeff Gordon's Drive To End Hunger 24 car burning food based ethanol?

GinaV24 said...

I just read an article on the wall street journal.com that says a "left-right" coalition is coming togethe to end subsidies for the ethanol boondoggle.

So of course, Brian France is jumping on the bandwagon just as it is about to overturn.

JohnP said...

Nascar and politics don't mix. Ethanol is political JUNK. It's a crappy product. All it does is give tax money to support the manufactures of it and select mega-farmers. No more. When our state mandated it the mileage of all of our vechiles dropped by about 10% or a little more. And It Costs More!! It's junk. There is not the same amount of energy per gallon as real gas. Period. And my classic car is having a hard time with it as well. To boot - ethanol goes bad SO QUICK in the tank for any car that is a weekender driver. The ethnol HAS to be treated with MORE chemicals or it gums up after a few months. A sport entering the political environment better look out. It is a VERY Dangerious move for that sport. If Brian France thinks people have "Group Think" about ethonol, or anything else he's a morron. Why don't they just concentrate on RACING?

Jojaye said...

I know very little about the corn ethanol & engines in race cars. I know what that junk does to lawn mowers,hedge trimmers & lawn edgers & its not good. Its not good for the price of food either.

How about coming into the 1990's and fuel injection? Ethanol gives lower mileage per tankful of fuel.
Small fuel tanks + reduced mileage makes every race now a fuel calculation race.
sarcasm on
Exciting huh? When I think of racing I think calculators, math.
Yup that will bring in the youngsters all righty.
sarcasm off
If King Brian thinks going green is on this ( or many) fans top 10 improvements NASCAR needs to make - he is in need of more help than we here can provide. In patient is required for him.

KoHoSo said...

OSBORNK said...

The pioneers of NASCAR would never understand how anyone could ruin perfectly good moonshine by mixing it with gas.


A+++ would ROFL LMAO again. :-D

Anonymous said...

I'm really enjoying reading the posts on this topic. BF is crazy if he thinks the Nascar fans have Green as a high priority. The Environmentalists are wrong when they feel that most folks are against alternative forms of energy. I don't think they are. What they ARE against is the current alternatives that despite outrageous Federal subsidies, are insanely expensive. GM will build only 10,000 Volts next year in an Industry that will produce at least 12 Million cars. The Volt costs at least $40,000 and has a $10,000 battery that will not last the life of the car. You can get almost as good gas mileage for $15,000 less. The Volt is so good that we have to pay folks $7,500 in tax credits to buy the thing. Can you imagine Apple having to pay its customers to buy its latest Ipads/Iphones? You can buy any type of car as a Hybrid,yet the Hybrids have never accounted for more than 3.5 per cent of new car sales.Cellulosic is a non starter as are Hydrogen fuel cells. Hydrogen is not a source of energy-it's a carrier of energy. What are you going to make the hydrogen from? Today,its mostly made from nat gas. Carlos Ghosn is the top guy at Nissan. They'd love to have a Hydrogen car and are working feverishly on it. He feels they could advance the technology and produce a car in ten years----for $92,000!!! I have to question the motives of the 'alternative energy' crowd. The Co-Founder of Greenpeace was on television recently. He dropped out of the organization when it got over run by those against Capitalism, The United States and Globalization. Going Green was a means to an end-shift resources(money) from the developed countries to those that aren't. "Social Justice" and "Economic Justice" are the latest catch phrases.Nascar and the talking heads are playing up next years implementation of "Fuel Injection." We'll have to wait for the details,but Speed has reported that it will be Throttle Body Injection(TBI). TBI is nothing more than a carburetor with the top half knocked off and replaced with a little stepper motor to dispense fuel. GM introduced TBI on the 1984 Corvette!(Iowned a new one). In 1985,they switched to Tuned Port Injrction(TPI) which is a true fuel injection. Direct Injection(DI) has just been introduced and is state of the art. Point is, Nascar and the media are going to make a big deal of introducing 25 year old technology. All this begs the question of who's running the show in Daytona Beach? They want you to believe that the steering wheel is connected to the front wheels. Far from it!

The Mad Man said...

If BZF what's to go "green", then he should drink some ethanol. That'll turn him green.

I remember reading somewhere that it takes 1.4 gallons of gasoline to create one gallon of ethanol. So that right there isn't very smart in that you're using more petroleum to create this supposed petroleum saving product.

Then you get into the issues of safety, transportation, water contamination, and in the case of NASCAR teams, the problems with rust that will eventually happen within the fuel cells as the water/ethanol will be abosrbed into the fuel cell foam material and eventually form rust on the insides of the fuel cell metal.

IndyCar doesn't have this problem because they flush out the ethanol with, get ready, gasoline. That removes the ethanol and water which is inside the fuel cells. Has NA$CAR though this far ahead? I doubt it.

I think this whole thing with ethanol is a scam to begin with. And if you look at just the corn from a green standpoint, the more corn you plant, the more gasoline and diesel is used to keep replenishing the ethanol chain, and the more pesticides and fertilizer is used which eventually finds its way into the water tables, streams, and rivers thus causing even more environmental issues which seem to be ignored by both the government and some of these supposedly green industries. So is it environmentally more sound to produce ethanol or to go back to the regular unleaded fuels we had before?

As to our own petroleum reserves, there is more oil in the Permian Basin in Texas than there is in the Saudi Peninsula. And why aren't we tapping it? The oil companies and government won't admit it but the idea is that when the rest of the world runs out of oil, we'll still have our supplies here making us once again a global economic power. Providing our form of goverment and our country still exists when it happens.

I think Brainless Brian's announcement and involvement as nothing more than something to try to line his pockets with more green in the form of money.

sbaker17 said...

And don't forget to save thise cobs!

Anonymous said...

sThe switch to Sunoco Green in NASCAR is a change for the better. The bottom line is ethanol promotes agriculture. Agriculture promotes infrastructure. Infrastructure means jobs.......jobs especially needed in the deflated midwestern economy. At the end of the day, ethanol means money in the pockets of Americans. NASCAR has my blessing to drive this lesson home. In the previous year, America’s ethanol industry created or supported at least 400,000 jobs in the United States. These are good-paying jobs in rural communities, including some of the hardest-hit towns in our country. Sticking to the status quo of oil addiction sends at least $1,000 for every man, woman and child out of our economy every year to pay for oil. Stop that madness.People in my hometown need jobs!

Anonymous said...

Here's something no one ever discusses: the amount of fuel needed to run the machines that plant and harvest the corn needed for ethanol. By the time you factor these in, any savings is a wash. Ethanol is a big ponzi scheme cooked up by Senators in corn-growing states.

Dave Hudak said...

It's amazing to me that most people think field corn is food corn. It's not. in fact, 305 of every bushel of field corn used to produce ethanol is returned to the feed market as a highly nutritious feedstock called, dried distiller's grain. I'ts also less expensive to use than field corn.
The ethanol industry has created jobs, high paying technical jobs, not minimum wage jobs. These jobs won't be shipped overseas as most of the high paying US jobs have been. To say that the IRL had to switch to Brazilian ethanol because EPIC disbanded is absurd. EPIC didn't make ethanol. EPIC joined Growth Energy to continue to promote a clean burning, environamentally friendly fuel. The IRL went to Brazil for one reason - Money. Brazil made a better deal. NASCAR is using a 155 blend, which in Department of Energy studies has shown to perform in all makes of cars on the roads in the US today as good or better than regular unleaded gasoline. The ethanol prodcuers receive no subsidy. the 45 cents/gallon subsidy goes to the refineries who blend ethanol. ethanol may not be the magic bullet, but it's a strong component in an overall energy strategy. The NASCAR officials are smart enough to promote something that is good for America. Once the facts about ethanol are known, the debate is easy.
1. Ethanol wins over fossil fuels as a cleaner fuel.
2. US ethanol beats importing oil from nations that promote terror.
3. The US ethanol industry provides high paying jobs for Americans.
4. DDGS from the production of ethanol is used to feed livestock, helping to control the cost to produce food for our tables.

NASCAR got it right. Maybe some day the rest of the U.S. will.

Anonymous said...

I found a few very interesting points from a few different sorces.
• The USDA’s most recent scientific report found that grain ethanol is a net energy gain – we get 2.3 Btu’s for every 1 Btu that goes into production. This includes planting and harvesting the corn. That’s at least as twice as good as gasoline, which only gets a 1 for 1 Btu exchange.
• Grain ethanol uses field corn as a feedstock – not sweet corn. And a co-product of grain ethanol production are the distiller’s grains that even livestock companies like Tyson’s say are better, healthier alternatives for livestock feed. So with grain ethanol you not only get the fuel – you get the livestock feed as well. No food for humans goes into grain ethanol production.
• Grain ethanol is– at a minimum – 59 percent cleaner than conventional gasoline in the Life Cycle Analysis, according to Yale University’s Journal of Industrial Ecology. If the entire nation went to E15, like NASCAR has done, we could reduce carbon emissions equivalent to removing 1.35 million cars from the road.
• In the previous year, America’s ethanol industry created or supported at least 400,000 jobs in the United States. These are good-paying jobs in rural communities, including some of the hardest-hit towns in our country. Sticking to the status quo of oil addiction sends at least $1,000 for every man, woman and child out of our economy every year to pay for oil. Stop that madness.

Prof pi (Jeff Thompson) said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Buschseries61 said...

Great article, JD. The change to Ethanol was clearly a PR move to attract sponsors.

This sport will never be considered a 'green' sport, unless Brian France changes the vehicles from cars to bicycles.

Anonymous said...

I still find it amazing that so many people do not realize making fuel in the USA is much better than importing oil. That an ethanol plants make as much food(DDGS) as they do fuel.
The USA will export approximately
18 million ton of this high protein feed this year.

jack said...

Ethanol is not an Energy alternative myth !!!! It is blended into the American auto fuel supply and has been for over three decades. Corn based Ethanol is only the first generation Ethanol soon cellulosic Ethanol will be produced in high quantity as per the Energy act of 2007 signed by President Bush . We must get off foreign oil ASAP to boost our national security . We send to many U.S. dollars to countries who do not like us like Iran and Venezuala . Ethanol replaces millions of barrels of oil as it is 10% of the gasoline you put in your car and soon will be 15% . Ethanol provides thousands of U.S. jobs that can never be outsourced !!!! It also provides many indirect jobs in construction, transportation and engineering . Ethanol is a win win for all of us, stop living the status quo and start thinking about the future of our country our security and our economy.

Thanks
God Bless
Jack

Jojaye said...

How is it that each of the Anons is for this going green w/ethanol? just sayin'

saltsburgtrojanfan said...

Brainless Brian up to his bipolar tricks again. Ethanol fuel in NASCAR, Alcohol based fuels pose their own dangers Brian, when it catches fire it is hard to see. NASCAR is just trying to be like other sports and it turned me off and it is turning others off. This is one of many great examples of why Brian France should be impeached by his family.

Rick said...

I appreciate that change is difficult, but please consider the facts when making up your mind. Fact is that No Food For Humans Goes Into The Production Of Ethanol. Ethanol is made from field corn not sweet corn. Fact is that ethanol production utilizes only the starch, the remaining product is sold off as a high protein/high value animal feed. Fact is that for every btu to produce a gallon of ethanol there is 2.3 btu's of energy produced. (Twice the efficiency of gasoline)Fact is that every day $1 billion leaves this country to purchase crude from country that seeks to harm US, these same dollars could remain in the US to help boost an ailing economy. Fact is that over 400,000 jobs are attributed to ethanol production, important jobs in a country presently at 9.8% unemployment. Fact is that grain ethanol is 59% cleaner that conventional gasoline in the Life Cycle Analysis according to Yale University's Journal of Industrial Ecology. Many Midwestern states have been utilizing ethanol in cars and small engines for over ten years with no negative engine component impact. Modern day ethanol production is efficient and cost effective but most importantly, it benefits America.

Daly Planet Editor said...

FYI: Dave Hudak is the General Manager at POET Biorefining. This company has three ethanol producing facilities in Indiana.

POET is a member of Growth Energy, the ethanol advocacy lobby that has partnered with NASCAR.

Anonymous said...

It looks like there are many misinformed bloggers out there promoting ethanol propaganda again, while also being critical of NASCAR for understanding ethanol and wanting to utilize this high performance American fuel in their race cars. NASCAR is one of the most successful businesses in the world and has the greatest fan base following in the sports world, so careful, as they are pretty good at what they do, how they do it and who they do it with.
Today’s American ethanol is produced with increasing technological advances creating nearly twice as much energy as it takes to manufacture, while utilizing nearly half the water from a few years ago and reduces greenhouse gases by nearly 60% in comparison to gasoline. It's renewable, creates American jobs which can't be outsourced, and it reduces our dependency on foreign countries who think we are the evil ones. In comparison, refining oil into gasoline can’t compare to the efficiencies and the positive domestic impacts of today’s ethanol.
Bottom line is today’s American ethanol is only in its infancy as a fuel and it is technologies are advancing each year. Don’t fight against it, fight for it and understand that each day we grow our renewable fuel portfolio we create less dependency on energy from other countries who do not have America’s back!

Daly Planet Editor said...

Jeff, your comment was delted since it contained incorrect information.

Dr. Diandra moved to West Virginia University several months ago.

Anonymous said...

The only reason ethanol creates high paying jobs is because it is so heavily subsidized by the American taxpayers in the form of government subsidies. Left to stand on it's own, the ethanol industry would collapse under it's own weight - it is a ponzi scheme, plain and simple. Ethanol requires tremendous energy to create -- that's old fashioned oil and gasoline running the machinery that plants and harvests the corn. So much that ethanol is nothing more than a recycling of fossil fuel -- instead of putting gas into a car, we'll put it into a tractor to harvest the corn and then use the corn for fuel. What a joke!

Bottom line, however, is that this has no place in NASCAR. None.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Interesting comments from a wide variety of sources.

As you know, this blog has been following the NASCAR TV and media since 2007.

Lots of major sponsors have come and gone in that time. Some sponsored series, some races and still others were contingency sponsors.

The views on US ethanol are welcome, but the thrust of this column is pointing out that the NASCAR media now has another major topic for 2011.

The original idea was that rules changes for both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series would be the key stories of the new season. NASCAR has now added the switch to a new fuel to the equation.

Whether the new fuel fits seamlessly into the sport or becomes a major media topic will play out over the next three months.

Thanks again to everyone for the various viewpoints on the subject, comments will remain open.

JD

Donna in FL said...

I'm updating my comment to acknowledge those who have come here to say that the ethanol NASCAR will use is produced from non-human food plant parts. With that, and the advancement of the technology each year, I would soon like to see a 100% domestically produced fuel that profitably stands on its own without gov't subsidies. Thanks.

Also not pleased to hear NASCAR is not adapting the latest in fuel injection technologies. I would think newest would be the most powerful fuel efficient way to go.

Anonymous said...

I was at the race where an ethanol fire burned off a good portion of Rick Mears' nose. We were sitting in the stands behind pit row, and saw the whole thing happen. It was terrifying to watch the men trying to put out a fire that no one could see. I don't want to ever see something like that again.

I have an idea if Gonzo Brian wants to go green. Just change all cars to the Chevy Volt. I mean, what difference would that make? All the COT cars today look essentially the same, so if they all drive a souped up Volt, it would still look like the COT lunacy. And, Gonzo would have his green initiative.

tiamatsrevenge said...

I find it ironic that most of the "Anonymous" posts are all ethanol in NASCAR is a win-win ...

Or that the corn is not for human consumption ... Sure it might not be sweet corn, but it's using up the acreage that would normally be used for sweet corn but the farmers get more money for the ethanol corn ...

Those who say it's a win-win ... Have you ever seen the inside of a fuel filter or fuel pump or engine that's had ethanol (E-85/oxygenated fuel) used in it?? I have ... and it's nasty ... and it's just not worth using the products ... And that's why some states have stopped mandating the use of oxygenated fuels in the winter ...

Deepwater Horizon?? More harm was done to the oceanic ecosystem by the dispersants that were used than by the actual crude spilled ... I actually have some pix of DWH from a few weeks ago ...


The media issue with the ethanol & NASCAR story is that it broke AFTER the season ended and no one's around ('cept JD who never sleeps) to question the sanity of Baby Brian ... If David Poole were around, he'd be all over this like a cheap suit ...

With NASCAR talking about getting rid of the catchcan guy for Nwide & Cup in 2011, what are they gonna do about needing a water guy to spray down the car like the IRL has?? There seemed to be quite a few pit stall fires this past season in NASCAR and IndyCar ...

Yes, I remember a few yrs ago where Roger Penske had the hair singed off his arm as he was helping douse the fuel fire on one of his cars (oddly enough, driven by Sam Hornish Jr) ... Roger was sitting atop the pit box, but not wearing a firesuit ... That could've easily been a WAG who got singed (& thus DeLana Harvick's campaign to get the WAGs to wear firesuits on the pit boxes) ...


Mexico hates us because the price of tortillas has skyrocketed because of ethanol ...

The fact that Dr Diandra has been "scared" away really makes me question things about NASCAR & ethanol ...

Nothing Baby Brian or the govt or the corn/ethanol lobby says will ever get me to believe the scam that is ethanol ...

The Mad Man said...

I don't know where dave Hudak came up with saying that ethanol performs better than regular unleaded but based on tracking of my own fuel mileage, I lost 4-6 mpg when the switch was made from unleaded to ethanol. that may not sound like much but when I drive from my residence to Jacksonville Florida to visit relatives, it's the difference between running out of gas on I-95 in the middle of the Okeefenokee Swamp and being at my relatives' doorstep safe and sound. So there is a difference in MPG between the unleaded and ethanol.

Steve_V said...

Ethanol is a Great Fuel

In recent years and more importantly years to come, ethanol has more to offer consumers then what is publically known or stated. Ethanol is a more efficient fuel and one way to give a description is that ethanol can also extend the efficiency of gasoline. Ethanol is ideally suited for turbocharged direct injection engines such as Ford’s Ecoboost engine because of its very high octane and greatly reduces particulates.

Today’s vehicle computer will sacrifice best ignition timing and will over fuel in order to operate at medium to high loads with standard gasoline. Adding ethanol to gasoline can allow vehicles today to maintain best ignition timing. Ethanol can also reduce the higher emission issues for high power settings by avoiding over fueling.

Several studies have citied a connection to higher cancer rates, low birth weight and child development issues due to mobile transportation emissions. Ethanol is clean burning and also improves gasoline combustion.

Ethanol has proven to reduce emissions like:
Volatile Organic Compounds
i.e. Benzene, 1.3 Butadiene & many others
Carbon Monoxide
Sulfur Oxides
Particulate Matter Pm2.5

Ethanol
Time to Break the Myth

Myth: Food versus Fuel. Ethanol is driving up Food Cost.
Fact: Nearly 50 percent of the feeding value of corn remains after the ethanol process. This is providing quality feed to the livestock industry. This is sustainable agriculture. Today, corn represents an average of 3 cents to every dollar of related items at the local grocery store.

Myth: The ethanol tax credit only supports the farmer and ethanol industry.
Fact: The ethanol industry supports nearly a half a million US jobs and generates double the return on tax revenue all the while providing over a 10 fold return to the GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

Myth: Ethanol has a negative energy balance.
Fact: Multiple sources to include the USDA list ethanol at a positive 2.3. This is based on a unit of energy. This means that by volume, 3.4 gallons of ethanol can be produced for every gallon of gasoline.

Myth: Ethanol will burn up your vehicles engine and catalytic converter.
Fact: This recent ethanol attack add was taken out of context, part of the E15 testing in order to scare the public. In nearly all operation of vehicles on the road today, ethanol will burn cooler due to ethanol’s cooling effect.

Myth: The ethanol industry and farming will pollute our river.
Fact: Farming practices are always improving with less fertilizer input per acre. The dead zone in the Mississippi has been declining all the while ethanol output has increased. Acres to corn has not seen any significant increase.

Myth: The ethanol industry uses excessive amounts of water.
Fact: Palm Beach and Broward counties of Florida use more water just at golf courses then the entire ethanol industry. A gallon of gasoline can be ten times the amount of water use compared to the ethanol plant.