NASCAR pollutes a lot, which is no surprise with 43 cars racing 500 miles each in one weekend. In just one weekend the cars put about 120 thousand pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere. To put that into perspective, the average person contributes about 45 thousand pounds of CO2 in an entire year. All together the racers use about six thousand gallons of race fuel in one weekend compaired to about 730 gallons used per year by the average driver (Layton). Not only do the racecars chug the gas, they also eat the tires. Most teams use 8-10 sets of tires in a weekend. It takes about seven gallons of oil to make one tire. When oil is burned to make the tires, it puts about 698 pounds of CO2 in the air for one barrel of oil. This adds up to about 149,090 pounds of CO2 just from the used tires for a weekend (Oilprice.com). So what do the race teams do with all the used tires? Instead of throwing them away Goodyear (the tire sponsor of NASCAR) takes the old tires and recycles them.
To clean up their act NASCAR has started planting ten trees for every green flag that is dropped. Planting trees will not only replace all the forests that we have destroyed for paper, but also other things that we could have been recycling (Lynch). Planting trees will act as natural air purifiers and will reduce the amount of pollution that reaches the ozone layer. Pollution that is created by cars eats away at the ozone layer, letting in more UV rays from the sun which makes the earth warmer and causes global warming. The ozone layer makes the sun less damaging and more bearable. The ozone repairs itself the trees will give the ozone a better chance of repairing faster and fuller (ozone chemistry).
Using Sunoco as the official fuel of NASCAR pollutes less. NASCAR has been putting only Sunoco fuel in their race cars since 2004. All of NASCAR uses the same blend of fuel. Sunoco Green E15 is the official blend the teams use. This blend is made from 98 octane unleaded fuel. It’s called Sunoco Green E15 because it is naturally green in color. E15 is included in the name because 15 percent of the weight is ethanol. E15 is made through an easily explained process. It starts with being pumped out of the ground. It is then shipped to Sunoco’s refinery for race fuel in Marcus Hook, Pa. At the refinery, the oil gets purified, and additives are put in it to make it burn cleaner. The oil is then tested and colored. Lastly, the oil is shipped from the factory to race tracks across the United States. To make the race fuel, Sunoco only uses one refinery to guarantee the quality is consistent throughout the product (Sunoco).
The Sunoco Green E15 race fuel can’t come in contact with moisture because of the ethanol. This makes transporting and storing the fuel unique. The tankers full of fuel don’t unload into a tank in the ground, so race teams fill the 12 gallon gas cans directly from the tanker trucks. The teams use these cans to fill the race cars during pit stops. The teams fill these gas cans an hour to an hour and a half before the race starts to reduce the likely hood of the fuel coming in contact with moisture. The gas cans weigh about 94 pounds, and empty in under 10 seconds. The cars can take up to two full cans during a pit stop. The race cars don’t have gas gauges. Instead the teams rely on how much fuel is poured, because it is more precise then measuring the volume (Sunoco). By switching from regular unleaded fuel to Sunoco Green E15, NASCAR has used about 300 thousand gallons less in just one season. Sunoco Green E15 is not only more efficient, but it is also cleaner to burn. This fuel produces about 20 percent less greenhouse gasses (Gerkin). NASCAR, however, hasn’t always used Sunoco Green E15 fuel.