This could be an epic demonstration of hypocrisy – an institution that wants the public to “be green,” but engaging in business practices that are far from that same standard.
In a press release sent out March 10, the National Green Energy Council was soliciting associate sponsors for a NASCAR Nationwide Series race team it teamed up with for the 2010 season.
“The National Green Energy Council (GEC) has partnered with the first green mission NASCAR team Get Green Racing to utilize the power of the diverse 80 million NASCAR audience to promote eco friendly products and services while encouraging better environmental stewardship,” the release said.
The car, the #34 “Get Green Racing” car, owned by Frank Cicci is driven by veteran driver Todd Bodine and is committed to spread the message of “change and much needed to secure a healthy, sustainable future for all,” according to the team’s Web site. So far that’s the only place you’ll the story as traditional media outlets have ignored racing’s inconsistent view of going green.
It could be argued that sponsoring a racecar in this series isn’t the most environmentally friendly way to get your message about the importance of environmentally friendly industries out to the public.
The 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule is comprised of 35 races totaling more than 10,000 miles and that’s not including qualifying laps, practice and testing. And as USA Today reported in October 2009, a NASCAR-sanctioned stock car gets roughly 5 miles per gallon, which is far from eco-friendly.
So for this endeavor, assuming the Green Energy Council is running a full schedule in its partnership with Frank Cicci Racing and completes 75 percent of the laps (margin of error granted for wrecks, mechanical problems, etc.), that still is roughly 1,500 gallons of racing fuel.
If you apply the Environmental Protection Agency’s method of calculating CO2 emissions from a gallon of gasoline (2,421 grams x 0.99 x (44/12) = 8,788 grams = 8.8 kg/gallon = 19.4 pounds/gallon), that’s somewhere in the vicinity of 29,100 pounds or 14.5 tons of anthropogenic greenhouse gas pollution emitted by a single race car team for a season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
According to Al Gore’s Climate Crisis Web site, “the average American generates about 15,000 pounds of carbon dioxide every year from personal transportation, home energy use and from the energy used to produce all of the products and services we consume.” That means the “Get Green Racing” car would have a carbon footprint equal to about two average Americans.
Although this could be interpreted that it’s OK operate a 3,400 pound, 650 horsepower gas-guzzling machine at high-rates of speed throughout the year, to compensate for this, Get Green Racing maintains “the race car will be offset for every race; the hauler will use biofuels at every opportunity” and “car decals will be made from recycled materials.”