Until a few years ago, NASCAR was still using dirty leaded gasoline, which regular cars ditched back in the 1970s. In a single season NASCAR drivers burned 450,000 gallons of the stuff.But now America’s second-most watched sport is trying to green its image.
In 2008, NASCAR started using unleaded fuel.
It’s since partnered with Growth Energy to further promote the use of American ethanol fuel, and will reduce its stock car emissions by 900 tons just from the fuel switch. The increased ethanol use has also been helping to create jobs for farmers in Midwest America.
“There’s no sport more American than NASCAR and there’s no fuel more American than ethanol,” says Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. “This partnership is able to demonstrate to the American public the many values of ethanol.”
Together, NASCAR’s over 75 million fans are putting faces like Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the green movement in America. Clint Bowyer, winner of this week’s race at Talladega, says it’s amazing how fan’s input has changed. At first they were asking, “What is ethanol?” Now fans are asking, “Where do I get it? What is the impact that its made already?”
For the 2012 season, NASCAR will switch to electronic fuel injection systems, another change that is long overdue. Fuel injection will further reduce NASCAR’s emissions and make incorporating higher-blend ethanol fuels even easier.
Mike Lynch, director of green innovations at NASCAR, says, “This is phase one of biofuels for the sport. This is a long-term commitment.”
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