2564 Miles per Gallon at Shell Eco-marathon

Going the farthest distance might sound like a foot race. But this past weekend, it meant stretching the boundaries of fuel efficiency as student teams competed in the fifth annual Shell Eco-marathon Americas.

It is a challenge for students to design, build and test fuel-efficient vehicles that travel the farthest distance using the least amount of energy. High school and university students from Canada and the United States competed in the two-day street course challenge in downtown Houston.

For the third year in a row and beating last year’s mileage by 77 mpg, the student team from Université Laval in Quebec, Canada took home the Internal Combustion First Prize with an astonishing best run of 2,564.8 miles per gallon in the Prototype class.

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And in the UrbanConcept class, the team from Louisiana Technical University in Ruston, La. took First Prize by achieving a best run of 646.7 mpg.

Also, Shell has created an online destination for vehicle owners to brag about what they drive.  Consumers can participate in the third annual Shell V-Power “Fuel My Passion” Sweepstakes for a chance to win prizes including Shell V-Power premium gasoline for five years. (Read: Fuel My Passion with Shell V-Power)

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For the complete list of all Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2011 winners for both on-track and off-track awards, visit www.shell.com/ecomarathon.

Bruce Culpepper, Shell Oil Company executive VP Americas Operations, kicked off the challenge on Saturday, April 16, by waving the green start flag and asking the teams to “Start your fuel-efficient engines!”

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The competition was steep with a record number of 62 student teams and their 68 vehicles competing.

Shell Eco-marathon is a part of Shell’s “Smarter Mobility” program, which is aimed at meeting the needs of today’s drivers as society faces an increasing demand on energy for transport.

While alternative energies such as hydrogen and advanced biofuels have real potential, there will not be enough of these energy sources to make a measurable difference for another decade or more, says Shell.

With an eye on the future of transportation, the students and their designs at Shell Eco-marathon are focused on smarter energy use.

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Rakesh Raman