Climate change and Racing


You’re driving down the road and in front of you there’s a car with a huge wing in the back, it’s lowered, and it can be heard10 blocks away. When the light turns green it peels out leaving half of it’s tire ion the road and a big black cloud belchs out of the exhaust.  Nice huh?

When this happens to me, I think for a moment about all of the carbon emissions that just were released into the air and are currently destroying our ozone and causing climate change.

(By the way…I live in Florida. If the global warming takes the track that experts say it will…my state is underwater in a decade…scary huh?)

Most people are sickened by this. But what if there were 40 cars doing this for hours upon hours upon hours on end?  Welcome to racing.

There are 2 big race groups: NASCAR and Formula 1.

Before we get into them…let’s talk about you and I in the normal world.

We drive to work, to play, and all of that normal stuff we do. In our car (assuming you don’t have an electric) you put out about 100lbs of carbon dioxide (Co2) emissions per year. That’s a lot especially when you add all of your other fellow drivers on the road.

In the lifetime of an average normal driver, they put out 45,000 lbs of CO2 in their lifetime (60-70 years).

Now that you have the normal…what about these industries that all they do is drive their cars?

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 CO2 for 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).

Lets repeat that….4 million pounds/year! (That’s not counting travel to and from the track and moving the cars with huge semis that belch out tons of pounds per year, far more than a car.) Interesting enough….Formula one puts out a whopping 7 million/year.


The good news…they have both cut their emissions by 20%. The new numbers are:  3,200,500 for Nascar and 5,600,000 for formula one.

So lets look at the numbers: 1 year of racing equals 8,800,500 lbs of co2 emitted(195 cars driving for life assuming an average drive).

All the people…300,000 for 35 races =10500000, each of these people burning about 20 lbs or 210,000,000lbs of co2 to get there.

If we eliminated just the racing circuit…imagine how much we would help the earth.





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