Posts Tagged ‘thrills and spills’

Monday Moaning

This is an extension of my Chew on this post last Tuesday, where I looked at motor racing being an evil user of gasoline and a huge source of hot house gases.

Why NASCAR Needs To Think About Energy Use

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about possible ways that climate change could effect baseball. This time I want to talk about how a sport can impact the climate.

From constant travel to keeping the stadium lights on, every sport is energy intensive. But NASCAR — in which drivers race vehicles 500 miles at speeds of 200 miles per hour — takes energy intensity to a whole new level.

NASCAR is arguably the second most popular sport in America. Though it lacks some of the broad appeal of other sports, the 75 million people that watch it each weekend put the sport behind only the NFL in popularity. And that popularity has its environmental impact beyond what the casual fan might think about.

For example, NASCAR race cars are not subject to the EPA regulations that govern other vehicles on the road. They do not have catalytic converters mandated for every other car on the road. And until 2007, NASCAR used leaded gas — a toxic fuel that has hasn’t been used in the rest of the U.S. since the 1980′s.

On average, NASCAR cars get between 2 and 5 miles per gallon of gas. How Stuff Works explains:

“In a single typical NASCAR race weekend, with more than 40 cars at high speeds for 500 miles (804 kilometers) — plus practice laps — at 5 mpg of gas, you’re looking at, conservatively, about 6,000 gallons (22,712 liters) of fuel

. Each gallon burned emits about 20 pounds (9 kilograms) of carbon dioxide, so that’s about 120,000 pounds (54,431 kilograms) of CO2for a race weekend

. Multiply that by roughly 35 races per year, and NASCAR’s annual carbon footprint is in the area of 4 million pounds (1.8 million kilograms).”

Four million pounds certainly isn’t going to tip the climate over the edge, but its still a heck of a lot of CO2 spewed into the atmosphere. And that number doesn’t even include the fleet of diesel powered support vehicles that accompany each racing team at every event around the country.

Source: ThinkProgress Read more


Not being American, of course, I forgot completely about NASCAR, but it certainly is a part of the issue.

…and when the pumps run dry, then what?

All these motor sports are so much an ingrained part of ‘sports’ that we fail to stop and think of the impact on the environment.

Even if the amount of CO2 is not enough to tip the global warming scales, the wastage of fuels is bringing us closer to critical availabilty.

Let’s face it, if private motoring is banned, who will be the first to complain about having to walk to the supermarket?

There needs to be some serious accounting done regarding the value of a few ‘thrills and spill’ against the future of fuel.

The only solution is banning all such sports.

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