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

May 10, 2006

Northeast-Based Green Car Rally Takes on a National Flavor

The Tour de Sol has long been a showcase for electric, hybrid-electric, and alternative-fuel vehicles in the Northeast, but those of us in the rest of the country have always been left out, until now. This year, the Tour de Sol's Monte Carlo-Style Rally and Fuel Efficiency Competition features 18 alternate "start sites" located throughout the United States, plus one in the Canadian province of Quebec. Hybrid vehicles will begin leaving some of the start sites on May 10th on their trek to the Tour de Sol rally location in New York. Participants must reach Saratoga Springs by 11 a.m. on May 12th. An additional 200-mile High Efficiency Competition will be held on the afternoon of May 12th, and will be open to hybrids, electric vehicles, and alternative fuel vehicles. The Tour de Sol also includes a separate Championship competition for green vehicles in a wide variety of categories, starting on May 10th. See the description of all the rallies and competitions on the Tour de Sol Web page of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA), the tour's sponsor.

Participants in the Tour de Sol may be looking forward to a much longer event: the Great Race 2008, a 22,000-mile, 80-day road rally that crosses the United States, then continues in Shanghai, China, crossing Eurasia and ending in Paris, France. The race will include 20 vehicles running on alternative fuels, as well as 20 vintage cars, all competing for a $1,000,000 purse. The race starts in New York City on February 12th, 2008, and entries for the race are due by the end of this year. See the Great Race 2008 Web site.

A couple recently took on a similar challenge, trying to drive around the world with only 25 fill-ups of their Volkswagen Golf. With Shell as their sponsor, the couple finished their 18,000-mile journey in 78 days, achieving 52.3 miles per gallon, which earned them the Guinness World Record for Fuel Efficiency. See their Web site.