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How much is a gallon of NASCAR fuel?

NASCAR Cup Series O
Ryan Newman pits for fuel during the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 253 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Similar to almost every other motorsport genre in the world, NASCAR and stock car racing use a specialized type of fuel to go racing. Ever since 2004, the Cup Series, along with junior categories like Xfinity and Truck Series, has been seen exclusively using Sunoco fuel in their racecars, as the Dallas, Texas-based motor fuel manufacturer signed a deal with the sport.

With the introduction of the latest seventh-generation car, many changes were seen hitting the track last year with the Next Gen car. However, one aspect of the cars that remained fairly similar to previous years was the engines, in contrast to their design and horsepower ratings. Since there was not a lot of change on the engine side, these 900HP V8 engines use the Sunoco Green E15, a fuel specifically used by various stock car racing series.

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With an ethanol content of 15% of the total volume of the fuel, specialized fuel systems are needed to burn the fuel due to increased levels of oxygen in the same. The fuel is rated at RON98, which denotes the octane rating of the fuel, or in simpler terms, how much the fuel can be compressed before it self-ignites.

With the specialized Sunoco Green E15 fuel specifically developed to be run in NASCAR, standardized prices per gallon of fuel are hard to come by. However, one can purchase cans of this race fuel in two sizes, a 5-gallon tank and a 55-gallon drum. Several race shops also sell the fuel by the gallon with prices hovering around the $8.75 mark.


How much fuel does a NASCAR Cup Series car use during a race?

In a survey by Time magazine, it was found that a single NASCAR Cup Series car used approximately 125 gallons of Sunoco Green E15 during the 2015 Daytona 500 weekend. This figure does not include practice and qualifying sessions, and only accounts for the complete distance of the 500-mile-long race.

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A total of 43 cars participated in the 2015 Daytona 500, which amounts to 5375 gallons of fuel used by the sport during one single race. Statistics are true for the previous generation car, referred to as the sixth generation, which uses the same fuel as the current Next Gen car in the 2022 and upcoming 2023 season.

Watch the cars take to the track as the Busch Light Clash kicks off the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season on February 5th, 2023, at the LA Memorial Coliseum.

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Edited by Anurag C
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