Now I know everyone loves to watch dozens of cars go around a track hundreds of times, but what are the environmental impacts that this has on not only the emissions it causes, but gas used as well as the water footprint it leaves behind when having such events. I am not saying that if we got rid of NASCAR all of our energy troubles would go away, or that it is the sole cause of the CO2 emissions that the world has, but I question whether it’s worth it to continue these pastimes knowing the damage already present and the amount that its adding to it. NASCAR uses 216,000 gallons of gas on races alone (some extremely higher estimates include it to be around 2 million gallons). This does not include pre-races, poll setting races, travel of semis to transport the cars, nor the practice laps ran. The gas used alone is what many dissenters to this argument call a drop in the bucket to the amount America uses annually, which is around 320,500,000 gallons. What I call it is a good start. If we were to stop the useless consumption of the gas this “sport” uses, it would be that much more of an unsustainable, highly sought after commodity for the future. True they do pay higher prices and use an ethanol type blend for their vehicles, but that’s still millions of gallons going to essential waste. They compare it to a NFL, or NBA game, but last time I checked the players were swilling Gatorade not fossil fuels.
To the naysayers that are toting that these events bring in money for the economy as well as being a multibillion dollar industry that would be harmful to the markets if it ceased to exist I have something else for you to ponder. The fact that the gas being burned emits carbon dioxide, harmful to many mammals, highly useful to much of the plant life. But too much in concentration of the atmosphere will eventually be too much for plants to handle killing them off. The mass concentrations of C02 also would cause climate change (and natural disasters seem to follow those around like a lost puppy). So to say that these emissions that are sent out into the air cause pollution that cause climate change that cause severe weather resulting in a higher probability for major natural disasters ending in huge amounts of money lost in collateral damage probably washes out with how much is being made at these events anyway. Save money, stop NASCAR.
The final topic I will bring up will be how much water is wasted on the production of the cars (tires alone that are used in obscene abundance), gasoline, the electricity to light these huge stadiums, etc. Not only is the gas that is being used in these races in limited supply we have a much less talked about issue in the public medium of water consumption and its limited supply. A single gallon of gasoline uses 97 gallons of water in the refining of crude oil. A tire uses 518 gallons (a single race usually uses about 500 tires), for a single car it needs approximately 39,000 gallons to make. This water usage is set on the back burner for now but we as a country need to realize that it along with oil will eventually run out.
To help out the global pressures of using up the resources of the planet at an exponential rate set on total devastation of these resources, we need to start thinking of ways to reduce as well as use alternate means to alleviate the needs and costs of these items. I think giving up a sport to maintain the livelihood of generations to come is a small price to pay, one that the ignorant and spoiled Americans are all too readily against doing.