Saturday, 26 May 2012

NASCAR Takes A Green Lap With EPA

This may seem like an odd pairing but we are certain that NASCAR and the EPA made great moves this past week when they announced a partnership with to build awareness for "environmentally friendly products and solutions to address America’s environmental challenges."

EPA is set to help NASCAR spread awareness for a number of green programs including it's Design for The Environment initiative

Now, if any of this appears to be a little of a surprise you aren't alone. After all, this sport relies on the guzzling of an ethanol based fuel at about 4 MPG. It wouldn't be short sighted to suggest that NASCAR fans are probably not the influencer base for environmentally sound initiatives either, especially if they are driven by government agencies. But rest assured, this isn't the first NASCAR has stepped up to the plate to bat for green technology. Last month the new Ford Focus EV was used to set the pace at the Sprint Cup 400 series at Richmond International Raceway in Virginia. In 2010, 40,000 solar panels were installed over 25 acres at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. A number of other NASCAR green tech programs have been launched in the past. 

Given the nature of the sport, it may seem like simple awareness of green programs would not be enough of an input by NASCAR to count as a significant effort. But when taking into account the operational costs, massive number of fans at races (Indianapolis seats around 250,000) and logistical complexity of NASCAR events, there are few events outside of it that would benefit as much if they were to continually adopt more sustainable ways to run the sport. Additionally, if there is a base of sports fans traditionally resistant to green technology one need not look further than NASCAR fans. NASCAR, although wildly popular, is still considered a regional sport that has settled comfortably in the Southeast part of the US. Far from the influence and pressure to adopt sustainable technologies.

It will be interesting to see the evolution of the sport and if sustainability becomes easily engrained in it's development. Think better mass transportation for races for those 250,000 fans or expanding guidelines to allow for alternative fuels used in race cars. 

For the time being, this is great step forward. The awareness NASCAR will bring to the EPA is especially important because of the audience they are reaching. Serious adoption of sustainable technologies is something we are still waiting but excited to see.

*Image borrowed from NASCAR GREEN.

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