The Buzz Word: Ethanol

Laura McNamara

Ethanol SummitThe “Ethanol Summit” included an impressive list of speakers and both local and national press arrived to cover it. The Ethanol Information and Promotional Council, IndyCar Series, Indianopolis Motor Speedway and Rahal Letterman Racing sponsored the event. EPIC officials said the summit was meant to commemorate what the company calls “monumental use” of 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol in the IndyCar® Series as well as ethanol’s first Indy 500 win.

President of the IndyCar Series Terry Angstadt stepped up to the podium first to talk about the IndyCar® Series as a leader in the “Greening of Racing” trend and elaborated on the performance benefits that ethanol provides. EPIC Executive Director Tom Slunecka stressed the importance of consumers in the push for the growth of ethanol fuel. Slunecka said consumers and consumer education are key in raising awareness about ethanol. Jim Gentry, Fuel Manager for GasAmerica, added that retailers need to recognize their responsibility in the future of America’s energy. Gentry called the leaders in the fuel retail industry to support E85 initiatives. Dave Vander Griend with ICM and Andy Karsner, the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy echoed Gentry’s claim that ethanol is set to be a key energy resource for the future. Director of the SmartWay Program Mitch Greenburg spoke on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency. Greenburg commended the Indy Racing Leauge for being one of the first organizations to make a complete transition to a biofuel. He says that “impressive” move highlights the importance of home-grown renewable fuels.

The explorer behind the Global Warming 101 expedition then gave a presentation on the evidence of global warming and ethanol’s role in mitigating what he said was an “unnatural variation” occurring with the earth’s climate. Next, Chevy General Manager Ed Peper spoke of General Motors commitment to the future of ethanol use and ethanol friendly automobiles. Peper handed Indianapolis’ Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman the keys to a brand new Chevy Tahoe Flex Fuel Vehicle. The summit wrapped up with one of ethanol’s leading spokesman in the racing industry, IndyCar Driver Jeff Simmons. Simmons acknowledged his role with ethanol, saying as an IndyCar driver for Team Ethanol he isn’t just a promoting racing, but also the a cause that effects a large part of the population. Listen to the audio below to hear more from the speakers at the Ethanol Summit:

[audio:http://www.zimmcomm.biz/epic/totalsummit.mp3] (1:20:00)

2007 Indy 500 Photo Album

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