Waving the Green Flag for E15—and American Ethanol

By Tom Buis | February 15, 2011

We are in the midst of a truly exciting time for the nation’s ethanol business.

First, we have the approval of the Growth Energy Green Jobs Waiver, our petition to increase the blend of ethanol allowed in fuel from 10 percent to 15 percent. On the heels of that easing of regulatory barriers to our market, the 2011 NASCAR racing season launched with American Ethanol as a new marketing partner—and E15 as the official fuel of all NASCAR racing vehicles.

It is absolutely good news to see a mountain of testing data compiled by the scientists at the U.S. DOE and the U.S. EPA all point toward E15 as a good fuel for today’s cars. Having NASCAR’s racing champions validate E15 is an incredibly effective way to market E15 to everyday Americans.

In the case of both the E15 waiver and the American Ethanol agreement with NASCAR, the seeds of success were planted years before by the foresight, ingenuity, and hard work of Growth Energy’s members. Ethanol is a truly American industry—a business built by entrepreneurs in pursuit of opportunity. And in each of these significant moves, the opportunity lies in growing a marketplace through choice and competitiveness.

Growth Energy’s filing of the Green Jobs Waiver in March 2009 was a major step forward for our industry. And it was a landmark decision when EPA delivered its final decision in January to approve E15 for all automobiles and light trucks made in the past decade. This signifies a huge increase in the market for American ethanol.

But we still have people to win over. I truly believe that the NASCAR deal will push American Ethanol into the stratosphere. NASCAR has more fans—and more loyal fans—than any other racing series. First, Sunoco Green E15 will be pumped into the fuel tanks of each division of what is America’s leading racing series. Anyone who has any question of how E15 will perform in their street vehicle shouldn’t have to go any further than turning on the television on Sunday race days to see for themselves.

Second, with the American Ethanol-branded green flag waving over the track on every lap, the American Ethanol-branded fuel port on every NASCAR racing vehicle, and the American Ethanol TV ads on media outlets covering NASCAR, this deal means tens of millions of Americans will begin to see our positive ethanol message—many for the first time.

Besides drawing one of the largest and most loyal fan followings of TV-covered sports, NASCAR penetrates parts of the country where we face our toughest challenges to change minds, including the Southeast and California.

American Ethanol continues to grow. We recently signed the National Corn Growers Association to become a major partner in the American Ethanol coalition—and we are looking for more partners who see the value in reaching out to the many, many Americans who follow NASCAR.

Thanks to Growth Energy’s Green Jobs Waiver, we now have the endorsement of the federal government that E15 is both a safe and effective fuel for today’s vehicles. Thanks to Growth Energy’s American Ethanol deal with NASCAR, ethanol will win over new believers who will watch as their champions reach the checkered flag racing on E15.

Author: Tom Buis
CEO, Growth Energy
(202)545-4000
tbuis@growthenergy.org