I saw a TD that got me thinking again about the amount of fuel consumed by the racing industry (see it here: http://www.fannation.com/throwdowns/show/151879).
I know there are a lot of racing fans out there, and I'm not trying to disparage the "sport" in any way. But those of us old enough to drive are all feeling the pinch at the pump, and inflated gas prices naturally lead me to consider the overall problem of fuel consumption.
Let me be clear- I'm not suggesting that racing has a direct impact on fuel prices. This is about use, not cost. But I do want to throw some numbers around.
According to NASCAR, about 6,000 gallons of fuel are consumed during a typical race weekend- this includes qualifying, practice, and the race itself (source: http://www.azcentral.com/sports/speed/articles/0602nascargas-ON.html). Estimates say that stock cars average roughly 5 miles per gallon overall, and significantly less at top speed.
The 2008 NASCAR schedule has 40 races (www.nascar.com), which means that based on the numbers above, roughly 240,000 gallons of fuel will be consumed during the season.
Let me put that in perspective for you: My car averages about 30 mpg. Pretty good, right? With that amount of fuel, I could drive 12,000 a miles per year for SIX HUNDRED YEARS.
To put it another way, let's say that you've got a bunch of drivers who all get 20mpg. A typical number given that many of us drive SUVs and other large vehicles. 240,000 gallons of gas would yield a total of 4.8 million miles. Given the annual mileage piled up by the average driver, that equates to a year's worth of driving for 400 people.
That's NASCAR Sprint Cup alone. Add to that the various other racing leagues including Busch Series, Craftsman Truck Series, Formula 1, Indy Car Series, funny cars, midgets, motocross, and countless other pro and semi-pro car, truck, and motorcycle racing organizations.
Now I'll grant you that the vehicles used in these races vary greatly in their fuel efficiency, but the point is that with the vast amount of races of all types being run worldwide, it's immediately obvious that an unbelievably huge amount of fuel is being consumed by the industry as whole. I couldn't even begin to calculate how many gallos of petroleum products are accounted for, but if a single NASCAR season equates to a quarter of a million gallons you call well imagine that we're talking million upon millions overall.
I don't consider myself to be a staunch environmentalist. I should probably be more "green" on my own before I criticize others. And I don't have anything against NASCAR or racing per se, though I'm not an avid fan either. But I can't help but be more than a little annoyed over the amount of fossil fuels we're burning in our pursuit of entertainment. Especially now, when it costs me $40 just to fill a Civic.