A Time For Good Times And Somber Remembrances

Today is a national holiday set aside to honor those who have died while serving in the military. It has also come to represent a long weekend for picnics, big sales, and the start of the summer season. In Indianapolis, though, it is the weekend that celebrates the “greatest spectacle in racing,” an event that first began in 1911.

Robert Moffitt, Clean Air Choice Team communications director, grew up in Indianapolis, where the Indianapolis 500 dominated local news coverage for the entire month of May. “Stories about the race lead the newscasts and make headlines just about every day,” he said. “But one story about the Indy 500 remains relatively unknown – the fact that the world’s fastest and most advanced race cars run on E85.”

Indy cars began using various blends of ethanol or methanol in 2006, eventually settling on an E85 ethanol blend, the same fuel sold in more than 370 stations in Minnesota. Because ethanol gets better fuel mileage than methanol, Indy fuel tanks were reduced from 30 US gallons to 22 gallons, but with no loss of range or power.

The E85 ethanol blend used now is also considered safer—not only for the pit crew, but also for the driver—than the methanol blends previously used on the track.

“When first time users ask me if E85 is okay to use in their flex fuel vehicles, I tell them that’s what they use in million dollar race cars.” Moffitt said. “A cleaner-burning, high octane fuel that usually costs less than gasoline? What’s not to like about that?”

Moffitt, an Army veteran, will likely watch the race on television on Memorial Day weekend. He also plans to remember the men and women the holiday was intended to remember.

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