This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

June 21, 2006

Canadian Team Achieves 3,415 mpg in Supermileage Competition


Photo of a bullet-shaped, streamlined, and totally enclosed vehicle, with the driver's chest and right arm barely visible through a side window.

The streamlined vehicle from the University of British Columbia has a small profile from the front and runs low to the ground. Driver Kevin Li lays on his back in the vehicle with his head propped up.
Credit: UBC Supermileage Team

A team of students from the University of British Columbia (UBC) achieved 3,415 miles per gallon (mpg) on a racetrack in Michigan in early June to win the 2006 Supermileage competition. Sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the Supermileage competition offers a simple yet challenging goal: to build one-person, fuel-efficient vehicles based around small four-cycle engines, which are donated by Briggs & Stratton. Combining improved aerodynamics, a leaner fuel mix, and lower rolling resistance, UBC managed to more than double its fuel economy since last year's competition, when the university team was beat by a team from Mater Dei High School from Evansville, Indiana. This year, Mater Dei achieved the second-highest fuel economy, but at 1,897 mpg, it was a far cry from UBC's achievement. This year's competition included 29 collegiate teams and 12 high school teams. See the SAE Supermileage Web site, this year's results (PDF 226 KB), and the UBC Supermileage Web site. Download Adobe Reader.

If that impresses you, look back to May for the Shell Eco-marathon in southwest France, where a French engineering team achieved the energy equivalent of 6,785 miles per gallon using an ethanol-fueled vehicle. Unfortunately, Shell does not say how the energy equivalence was calculated. The French vehicle also emitted the lowest greenhouse gases per mile, beating many hydrogen-fueled competitors. France was also the location for this year's Michelin Challenge Bibendum, a road rally that promotes sustainable mobility. Volvo won 16 gold medals at the event with several alternative fuel vehicles, including one that could run on five fuels: hythane (a blend of hydrogen and methane), biomethane, compressed natural gas, E85, and gasoline. Volvo also won gold with a diesel vehicle that achieves 48 miles per gallon of diesel fuel. Back in the United States, history was made early this month in Watkins Glen, New York, with the debut of the first official SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) road rally that featured hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles. Thirty-five vehicles participated in the rally. See the Shell Eco-marathon and Michelin Challenge Bibendum Web sites, the Volvo press release, and the 2006 Green Grand Prix Web site.

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