NASCAR Eyes Biofuels

NASCARChaseWhile NASCAR has been greening up its image in the past few years with solar farms, carbon offsets and even keeping its big rigs from unnecessary idling, it still is behind some other major racing leagues that have put green fuels, such as ethanol, into their tanks.

But this article from USA Today says that could be changing:

The concept might seem incongruous in a sport inherently tied to an internal combustion engine that many find synonymous with global warming, but NASCAR, despite cars with an eye-popping 5 mpg, is trying to embrace its eco-conscious side as the federal government has begun prodding the racing industry to become leaders in efficiency…

On the competition side, NASCAR is exploring the replacement of its carburetors with more efficient fuel injection (perhaps as early as 2011) and the use of alternative fuels in at least one of its national series…

The Department of Energy has met with NASCAR officials, and an official says the government wants racing to help develop technology that’s less polluting…

A greener Sprint Cup Series also seems likely to be embraced by its four manufacturers with federal standards for fuel efficiency expected to rise by 10 mpg by 2016. General Motors, Ford, Toyota and Dodge all are producing hybrid vehicles.

“Every company in the world is looking at hybrids, diesels and plug-in vehicles,” says Lee White, president of Toyota Racing Development. “We’d be very interested in (NASCAR) formulating a green look. It makes the sport more relevant to where the business of selling automobiles is being driven.”

Now, for you NASCAR fans who are worried you’ll have to watch electric golf carts race around the track at just faster than a brisk walk, rest easy that the whoosh of rumbling cars going by won’t be eliminated… but maybe some of the choking exhaust will.