Tricia Braid

Mar 10, 2015  |  Today's News

Ethanol enthusiasts were stunned recently when comedian and car enthusiast Jay Leno stepped out as an anti-ethanol windbag. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a joke. Autoweek magazine published a column penned by Leno titled, “Can’t We Just Get Rid of Ethanol.” Well here in Illinois we’re trying to get rid of the negative rhetoric about ethanol! We’ve introduced legislation in Springfield and there’s an ordinance pending in Chicago that would put E15 at gas stations as an additional choice!

Both Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association have come out blasting Leno’s column.

RFA CEO Bob Dinneen had this to say, “Will the real Jay Leno please stand up? The last time we heard from Leno on ethanol, he was touting the benefits of E85 and had proudly converted one of his own Corvettes into a flex-fuel vehicle so that it could use the highest-octane and most renewable motor fuel available on the market. The horsepower he got was absolutely remarkable. Unfortunately, it appears Leno has fallen victim to the relentless barrage of myths and misinformation about ethanol and classic cars coming from all of the usual suspects. If Leno wants the facts on ethanol and classic cars, we’ll happily provide him with RFA’s ‘Gasoline Ethanol Blends and the Classic Auto’ report, which outlines a study by Hagerty Insurance (whose advertisement, incidentally, is adjacent to Leno’s anti-ethanol rant in Autoweek) showing that ethanol can be safely used in older automobiles.”

And Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, said, “This commentary from Jay Leno should go down as the worst joke he has ever told. I have always found that good jokes have some thread of truth in them, but clearly Mr. Leno is out of his league when it comes to understanding the benefits of homegrown American ethanol. Ethanol supports American jobs and a robust rural economy here at home and it also helps reduce carbon emissions by mitigating climate change and reduces our dangerous dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil. What Mr. Leno fails to acknowledge is that ethanol is the cheapest source of octane, the key component in fuel that drives performance – something he should know about as an avid motorist and car collector…No one is forced to use any fuel, and if Mr. Leno wants to use pure gas, go ahead and pay the premium in price, I am sure he can afford it. But for the majority of Americans, choice, savings and performance all in one is a package is what they are looking for, and that is exactly what ethanol delivers.”