Aug 13, 2008

[Environmentalism] The Role of Racing in These Times

A gas station pump offering five different oct...Image via Wikipedia These days, one can't help think about the rising costs of petroleum-based products whether or not you own a car. The state of fuel prices naturally affects all aspects of life and hits us all where it hurts - our wallets. Our day-to-day expenses just this year alone have all gone up to some degree whether in terms of commuting fare, electricity prices, and of course even basic goods like food and essential services. It's certainly a painful world that we're living in, but one that was not totally unforeseen given our consumption of oil.

While global focus is being directed towards working on alternative fuel technologies, conservation efforts and even properly inflating your tires, but sometimes there are just those things that stare us in the face and make you wonder why we even bother.

Man, this is just me thinking out loud, okay? I know I'm so going to get flack for this, haha.

It's not that I have anything against this particular hobby / sport, but in period where everyone has gas prices on their mind, why do we still entertain the notion of professional racing? Yes, it's understandable that their fuel consumption is probably not going to be bigger than the entire US or even just the US military, perhaps, but sometimes acts like that still send messages. The entire motor sports world is dependent on high octane fuel and pretty much showcases it on international television for everyone to enjoy.

We know that every little bit counts, and I'm not sure how continually rewarding both the gasoline companies and the car-makers with this sport works with our global push towards trying to reduce fuel prices, or at the very least using fuel only when truly necessary. Imagine the kind of statement it would make to the world if certain racing groups like the F1 circuits suddenly announced a requirement for all vehicles to use bio-fuels in races starting in 2010? What if we discontinued certain circuits all together and moved towards further popularizing the solar-powered racing scene in order to continue to support environment efforts? That's what I mean when it comes to the statement or message the existence of these racing groups contribute to the world. It's not about the volume of fuel they consume but the purpose of this consumption they slap in our faces.

While the rest of the world is penny-pinching and trying to maximize fuel economy, we have folks with million dollar jobs just burning the fuel by going around in circles on a track, essentially just burning the gas to go nowhere meaningful. At this point, we can't escape our need for oil when it comes to mass transportation, shipping of goods, air travel and power generation. Aren't these better uses of our ever-diminishing supply of petroleum?

Whether it becomes a government-initiated policy or just a strong statement from the car-makers or race organizers, I just think it would mean a lot to everyone if the racers just stopped one day. Hopefully it'll be one day soon.

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