Many people write off motor racing as glorified hooning that does little more than waste much of the Earth's finite fossil fuels. However, what these people may not know is that some of the world's most talented engineers are actually using these competitions as the proving ground for fuel-efficient technology.
After all, there's no incentive like being world champion, and with a number of high-profile motorsport categories switching to more environmentally friendly engine layouts, many manufacturers are winning races while saving fuel and advancing automotive development.
For drivers that regularly use fuel cards, the answer to a more efficient future could lie on the world's racetracks.
Formula 1 goes green
As the world's premier motor racing category, Formula 1 has a certain responsibility to represent the peak of automotive development. In 2014, this meant ditching the antiquated V8 engines in favour of a more efficient solution.
The result was one that merged a range of different technologies, resulting in hybrid V6 engines augmented with turbochargers. On top of this, the governing body enforced a strict fuel flow limit and reduced the amount vehicles could carry during a race. This meant that not only did these cars have to be fast, efficiency was paramount.
With manufacturers from Mercedes to Ferrari supplying engines to the series, the future is likely to get much more exciting once these developments reach their respective road cars.
World Endurance Championship brings hybrids to famous race
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is one of the world's most gruelling sporting events, putting drivers and their machines in a day-long test on the formidable Circuit de la Sarthe race track.
The World Endurance Championship (WEC), of which this race is a part of, followed Formula 1's lead, forcing teams in the prototype class to run hybrid vehicles in an attempt to the make the sport much more efficient. However, unlike Formula 1, teams in the WEC are able to use the engine configuration of their choosing as long as it has a hybrid component.
High octane thrills without the octane
While Formula 1 and WEC are still relying on internal combustion engines, the Formula E championship represents another possible future for the automotive industry. The events are contested by electric racing cars, proving to the public that the sport can still be exciting without the quintessential roar of engines.
A number of motor racing trends show these events are equal parts sport and research and development initiatives, meaning the progress made on the track is likely to filter through to consumers as well.