The Carbon Footprint of NASCAR

A Grist writer and environmentalist takes a trip to the Talladega Superspeedway to try to understand what the petroleum-wasting is really all about.
October 12, 2009, 6am PDT | Tim Halbur
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"You also have to factor in the tires for every race. Several gallons of oil go into the production of a synthetic rubber tire. One car competing in a NASCAR event burns through 40 to 80 tires per race. Additionally, each team has a convoy of 18-wheelers that hauls its race cars across the country from track to track, cumulatively traveling hundreds of thousands of miles per year. Fully loaded, these trucks get around 4.5 miles per gallon, which means that millions of gallons are consumed in just getting the cars to the races.

These numbers are small when compared to the volume of fuel that goes into America's military endeavors or our daily commutes, let alone our total oil demand. What's fascinating about this particular form of fuel consumption is that its purpose is sheer entertainment. This is gas consumption as an art form."

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Published on Friday, October 9, 2009 in Grist
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