Monday 9 May, 2011

Students Help Cars Get Better Gas Mileage

With gas prices hitting highs and showing few signs of dropping, everyone is concerned about how to get better gas mileage. In the second annual Shell Eco-Marathon, students from around the world set out to create fuel-efficient cars. They not only came up with innovative solutions, but put forth technology that could give the Hondas and the Fords a run for their money.

In this year’s competition, Laval University’s (Canda)prototype car really boosted fuel economy. The team’s car got 2,565 miles to the gallon. That’s like driving from New York City to Las Vegas on one tank!

The current record worldwide for fuel efficiency was set in 2010 by the team from Polytech Nantes (France) at 11,516.34 mpg. One tank in this car could take you from the North Cape in Norway down to the toe of the Italian peninsula.

A student from Granite Falls High School pilots one of the school’s two cars. Photo by: Harley Soltes / National Geographic

And it’s not just university teams that are making some pretty creative and fuel-efficient cars. Check out the team page of Granite Falls High School Eco Team  in Granite Falls, Washington. They sent two teams to the Shell Eco-Marathon—the UrbanAutos and the ShopGirls (pictured below).

Harley Soltes / National Geographic



Alternate fuel solutions like biodiesel, ethanol, hydrogen, solar power and—for the first time—plug-in battery technologies were used in the marathon. Some of the prototypes may look a little wacky, but the message is simple. No matter what powers the car—leftovers, hydrogen or solar energy, we’re finding ways to go farther for less.

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