Autotopia, one of Disneyland’s most beloved and classic attractions, has been a favorite for decades. The go-kart ride has been a hit for a simple reason: it’s given kids their first taste of driving on the open road.
For years, the attraction has been sponsored by Chevron, and guests waiting in line are exposed to the cuddly animated car mascots created by British animator Aardman used to promote its Techron fuel brand.
However, as any visitor to Autotopia knows, there’s a funny smell in the air. Since the go-karts are gas powered, exhaust permeates the area around the ride. And one of the byproducts of gas exhaust is benzene, a known carcinogen. This is the same benzene we breath every day when navigating the freeways and parking garages across America.
So what’s the big deal? For starters, it would be nice to have the “Happiest Place on Earth” a little less smoggy. But more importantly, isn’t it time Disney and Chevron stop promoting the combustion engine as a solution for the future? The new Cars Land at California Adventure gives the impression that Disney is more nostalgic about gas guzzlers rather than concerned about global warming.
JiggyHealth would love to see the antiquated gas karts at Disneyland replaced with emission-free electric ones. A small Southern California upstart, K-1 Speed, offers electric kart racing up to 25 mph. We’ve tried the electric karts for ourselves, and all we can say is, “Hold on to your hats and glasses!”
There’ll be trouble in Tomorrowland until our society makes the difficult transition from polluting combustion engines to cleaner technologies. It’s good for our health and for the environment. And is there no better place to hope for this happy ending than Disneyland?
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