Welcome back folks. I would like to report on yet another development regarding NASCAR's recent efforts to improve their public perception by lowering the organization's carbon footprint. Beginning in 2011, NASCAR will begin the use of an ethanol blend fuel... specifically, SUNOCO E-15.
In my previous post, I covered the inevitable shift to Electronic Fuel Injection. In this post I will attempt to explain the ramifications of this new development regarding the SUNOCO E-15
The E-15 fuel will not be 100% organic. There will still be a considerable amount of fossil fuel being burned in the engines... eighty five percent to be exact. As you know... a race car has no real emissions systems like the cars we drive to work. The fossil fuels in E-15 will of course still create substantial emissions of hydrocarbon byproducts such as carbon dioxide. However, this will still be significant improvement over what has been used in the past.
Now on to the facts...
First, the ethanol itself will come from American Grown Corn and will be processed in a newly constructed facility in Fulton, NY. Note: This ethanol product is distilled the same way the original Moonshiners did way back in the early days of NASCAR racing! Essentially, ethanol is Moonshine, or Grain Alcohol. (Please see cartoon at top of page.)
Second, the ethanol will then be transported to the SUNOCO fuel blending facility in Marcus Hook, PA where it will be added to conventional high octane gasoline.
Third, the final blended fuel product will then be transported to the tracks where it will be dispensed by tanker trucks for the teams to use in their fuel cells.
My understanding is that the fuel cans the race teams use to refuel the cars may go through some design changes, but nothing definitive on this as of now. E-15 has apparently been in the testing stage for several months, and teams are reporting a horsepower increase!
Now for today’s Toad Tech Tip…
After you pump gas into your car... always insure that your gas cap is tightened correctly. Many people do not realize that a loose gas cap can result in check engine warning light.
This is known as "EVAP code" in the auto repair business and could result in a wasted trip to the repair shop. Your gas tank along with the cap, are part of a closed fuel system. Gas vapors are scavenged and stored in a vapor canister and then are later used by the engine when the purge solenoid opens at specific intervals.
When you have a loose gas cap, this system ceases to work correctly, and harmful fuel vapors can be released into the vehicle and/or atmosphere.
Until next time...