Tonight Show host Jay Leno is an equal-opportunity biofuels promoter.
The interview is with Gale Banks of Gale Banks Engineering, “Turbocharging Since 1958.” This guy is “an unadulterated gearhead with a wall of Bonneville and powerboating world records to prove it” according to his website. Leno calls him the “smartest and oldest guy” he knows.
Banks tells Leno that he is “all over the idea of using E-85 to build the ultimate street rods.” The main point of the interview is that ethanol, in the form of E-85, is a very high performance fuel if the car engine is tuned to run on it.
Banks explains to Leno that the reason E-85 gets worse gas mileage in flex-fuel vehicles is because those engines are optimized to run on gas, not ethanol. If they were optimized for E-85, “you could go to a much higher compression ratio, which improves power output and engine efficiency. It’s the octane number,” he says. “Octane is a rating of knock-resistance. The higher the number the better. E-85 is 105 octane.”
Banks calls it “the biggest performance fuel bargain on the planet” and a “guilt-free performance topic.”