NASCAR and Earth
May 8, 2008 4:50 AM   Subscribe

Why are "NASCAR", "peak oil", "global warming" and "gas prices" never mentioned in the same sentence? Are there statistics on how much gas / oil / petroleum products that are used for a typical race? What about practice races?
posted by yoga to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Thet are HERE, "But NASCAR officials claim the amount of fuel being used -- less than 175,000 gallons per year on the Sprint Cup Series -- doesn't come close to the 366 million gallons that Americans average in daily usage."
posted by raildr at 5:08 AM on May 8, 2008

And here is an article about teams bitching about gas prices. Some information on how much they use up at tests as well.
posted by uandt at 5:15 AM on May 8, 2008

I don't want to bother with the math, but let's say all the NASCAR gas burned in a year is equal to the gas burned by [insert city name] in a year. What city? I have no idea. Probably a small one, say 20,000 at a guess. Are you saying we should outlaw NASCAR? I wouldn't care if it went away, but I don't think that would happen.
posted by zardoz at 6:33 AM on May 8, 2008

It's a drop in the proverbial bucket. Racing, like NASA, has historically leveraged its resource use by coming up with innovations that help save fuel for the automotive public as a whole. I can't name any at the moment, but I'm pretty sure it's true.

We waste something like 16,000 times more fuel sitting in traffic, if my instant google search is correct.
posted by gjc at 6:35 AM on May 8, 2008

Don't forget all the gas used by spectators and support vehicles, which will at least double the amount used. At least they've stopped using leaded gas, which was a great way of keeping NASCAR fans stupid.

I could drive my car over nine million kilometres on all that gas, and I might actually get somewhere.
posted by scruss at 6:49 AM on May 8, 2008

I don't know if this helps or hurts your argument: according to my calculations, NASCAR fans burn about 5,000,000 gallons of gas each year just getting to races. This is about 30 times what the race cars burn per year.

(my assumptions: 40 races; 100,000 fans per race; 2 fans per car; 50 mile round trip; 20 mpg)
posted by Uncle Jimmy at 6:51 AM on May 8, 2008

NASCAR fans often drive in from hours away and camp for the races - so the 50 mile round trip guess is probably low. That said, if you made a ranked list from 1 to 1000 of potential places to reduce gas usage I'm thinking NASCAR is way closer than to the bottom than the top of that list.
posted by COD at 7:15 AM on May 8, 2008

Racing, like NASA, has historically leveraged its resource use by coming up with innovations that help save fuel for the automotive public as a whole.

NASCAR hasn't. NASCAR doesn't innovate, period. It runs on 1960s tech.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:23 AM on May 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

What about the math related to the gas burned by spectators for all of the major sports? I remember seeing a breakdown of that somewhere; but google-fu fails me at the moment. I know NASCAR is a huge spectator sport, but the fans going to a race don't necessarily burn more gas than football fans do, for example.
posted by craven_morhead at 7:44 AM on May 8, 2008

ROU_Xenophobe- You are correct that the engines are old pushrod, carbed engines. But everything surrounding that is high tech- things like bearing materials, cam profiles, plugs, engine controllers, tire compounds, brake compounds, safety systems, shocks and springs, etc., are state of the art. And do add to the body of automotive knowledge.
posted by gjc at 7:59 AM on May 8, 2008

Whatever NASCAR does use, it has to be a lot less than the 1.7 million gallons per day used by the U.S. military each day in Iraq, as claimed by this 2005 Atlantic Monthly article.
posted by webhund at 8:15 AM on May 8, 2008

There was an item in the WSJ, (I think), yesterday about race organizers were taking a financial hit from higher gas prices because less people were driving to races and were buying less stuff once they got there. It's behind the pay wall so I can't pull it up from here but here's something saying roughly the same thing:

Officials with one major track ownership group says ticket sales have dropped by the high single digits this year. Lowe's Motor Speedway president H.A. ``Humpy'' Wheeler says about half of the tens of thousands of fans who show up for races at the track in North Carolina drive from more than 250 miles away and he understands their reluctance to shell out 300 dollars to fill up the RV. from here.
posted by rdr at 8:57 AM on May 8, 2008

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