Without a car, I can't boycott gas!

There's supposed to be a gas boycott tomorrow, Tuesday. Here's the e-mail that's been going around:
"Do not buy gas on May 15. In April 1997, there was a 'gas out' conducted nationwide in protest of gas prices. Gasoline dropped 30 cents a gallon overnight. … There are 73,000,000-plus Americans currently on the Internet network, and the average car takes about $30 to $50 to fill up. If all users did not go to the pump on the 15th, it would take $2,292,000,000 out of the rich oil company’s pockets for just one day. So please do not go to the gas station on May 15, and let’s try to put a dent in the Middle Eastern oil industry for at least one day."
The media have already debunked the effectiveness of this. I myself doubt it. Just take public transportation regularly if you can. Bike. Walk.

I was going over these facts for the Nextel Open this weekend:

  • Each racing car gets around 4.5 miles per gallon.
  • With each race having about 50 drivers, and with about 40 races in the season, NASCAR uses over 200,000 gallons of gas a year. (You think the teams are being hurt by high gas prices?)

  • NASCAR is exempt from the 1970 Clean Air Act, which requires all automobiles to use unleaded fuel.
  • Yup, NASCAR is still using high-octane leaded fuel, although its fuel supplier Sunoco has developed a special unleaded fuel for use in 2008 under pressure from the Environmental Protection Agency.

  • The Indy Racing League has made the switch to full-time use of ethanol, but not NASCAR.
  • I wouldn't recommend it either. The process by which plants and corn are converted to ethanol and biodiesel fuel uses more energy than it generates. It takes 22 pounds of corn and about 1.4 gallons of oil to produce about one gallon of ethanol. The people of Iowa will hate me, but the subsidies for a gallon of ethanol are 90 times the subsidies for a gallon of gasoline, and I disapprove of farm subsidies, especially when we're talking about conglomerate farms and not small farms.

    Anyway, the electronic fuel-injected engines used in IRL cars are more easily prepared for ethanol than the carburetor engines used in NASCAR. IRL also has had experience with methanol usage.

    My vision?
    Forty years from now, NASCAR will be using solar-powered cars.