Mechanics Corner: We Have a Need for Speed!

We love fast cars and the thrill of an internal combustion engine. Nothing beats the sound of horsepower at the track as dozens of cars roar by on their way to the finish line. Even when I hear that sound on television, I love to crank it up! You don’t get that sound from an electric car.

As a kid I fell in love with speed and the roar of the engine when I was around 5 years old, riding on the back of my dad’s motorcycle. As the years went by, I progressed to my own toys that became faster and more powerful, until the day came when the gas in the pump would no longer give comfort to my several-hundred-horsepower beast of a car.
That’s when I learned what racing fuel was and the cost that went along with it. What I would have given then for an E85 pump — affordable fuel and plenty of power!

There are plenty of reasons that NASCAR and many other racing leagues use bioethanol in their engines. It’s powerful and it burns clean, plus the fact that it’s incredibly low-cost compared to other racing fuel is very appealing. You can also see some of the luxury car models with labels on their fuel caps that say “Premium” or “E85 Fuel Only.” That’s because the engines are built to run their best on that higher-octane fuel. 

So how powerful is it? 

Currently there are two major speed records held using E85 ethanol. The Tuatara holds the world’s fastest production street-legal car record and hit 331 MPH on a closed highway. It was still accelerating when the driver shut it down. At 331 mph, we’d shut it down too! 

Here is a quick fact about this car from the manufacturer: When run on E85 — like this one was — it’s capable of 1,750 horsepower. Running it on 91 octane gasoline decreases its horsepower to 1,350. Did you catch that? That’s right, 400 less horsepower when not run on E85. 

This is not the only super car company that specs E85 as the preferred fuel. Bioethanol screams more power and cleaner air, and it’s proven in a world record-holding car. Sometimes seeing is believing, and you can check it out yourself on YouTube. 

The land speed record for a production car isn’t the only record held by an ethanol-burning monster; the marine speed record for a catamaran is also held by an E85-burning boat, which has won the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout many times. At over 13,000 pounds with four big block Chevy engines that produce 7,000-plus horsepower, the 51-foot Mystic boat hits well over 200 MPH! This boat is amazing to see racing across the lake in the one-mile speed box and is another great one to watch on YouTube. 

So there you have it. Bioethanol is powerful, it is affordable, and it is clean-burning. It’s been proven how much power it can make for the many super high-performance racing engines today; imagine how we could drive if all of our everyday cars were running on biofuel blends! Make the shift toward higher-octane, affordable biofuel blends and watch as the power and miles per gallon go up, and the emissions go down. 

The Under The Hood radio show is America’s Favorite car-talk show heard on over 250 stations and a podcast. The Motor Medics, Russ, Chris and Shannon, are three great friends having fun and offering a wide range of automotive advice without the aid of in-studio computers or reference guides. Under The Hood can be found on a station near you, on their podcast app, or on your favorite podcast site.




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