Monday, April 8, 2013
NASCAR takes steps to drive 'green'
Story originally appeared on USA Today.
Racing teams are using a 15% ethanol blend and NASCAR has embarked on a tree-planting binge
With growling engines that gulp fuel, NASCAR isn't exactly the first place you'd go looking to find efforts to go green.
But spring has sprung, and for April, the racing organization is showcasing its efforts to become ecological. Well, as much as it can, anyway.
First and probably foremost, NASCAR is using a 15% ethanol blend for fuel, which is 50% more ethanol than is found in the E10 blends at everyday service stations. Ethanol is denatured alcohol usually made from corn. Of course, it's not E85, the 85% ethanol blend that's been around for years, but still is step in the right direction.
E15 fuel is going to be used in all three of NASCAR's national racing series.
NASCAR is making sure fans know about its "green" efforts. For instance, Kansas Speedway is going to stick the "NASCAR Green" logo on the infield grass and the backstretch wall. The start/finish line will be painted green. A Toyota Camry hybrid will serve as pace car for the race.
NASCAR has also gone on a tree-planting binge. The goal is to plant enough trees that offset the carbon emissions from all that NASCAR driving. It's not an impossible goal: NASCAR says a single tree absorbs a metric ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime, about the same amount of carbon dioxide from a Spring Cup car driving 500 miles.
So, for instance, Ford plans to plant one tree for every lap a Ford driver leads in either of two racing series during April. And UPS has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant more than 8,000 trees.
"Our NASCAR Green activities this month comprise our most ambitious and collective effort to date in reducing our sport's impact on the environment," said NASCAR CEO Brian France in a statement.