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Top mileage on ethanol

Here’s a winner for you. How about 6,800 mpg on ethanol? No fooling. Don’t ask me how they measured it, or what the design was, but a team of students from Thailand achieved the highest mileage of all entries at Shell Eco-marathon Asia on July 7.
By Susanne Retka Schill | July 16, 2012

Here’s a winner for you. How about 6,800 mpg on ethanol? No fooling. Don’t ask me how they measured it, or what the design was, but a team of students from Thailand achieved the highest mileage of all entries at Shell Eco-marathon Asia on July 7. 

The students from Dhurakij Pubdit University actually boosted their mileage 31 percent from their entry to last year’s contest. They got 5,206 mpg last year and 6,828 mpg this year. According to the team advisor, quoted in the story, the students designed and created their own engine, and paid close attention to bearings, tire friction, air fuel ratio and driving techniques. Speed mustn’t be a criteria of the contest, because one of the driving techniques mentioned included shutting off the engine whenever coasting was possible.

Looking around the National Geographic’s website on the great energy challenge I discovered another story about last year’s event at Houston.  The authors mention the winners in the alternative fuel class, where both first and second place went to teams using ethanol. A high school senior from Alden, Minn., talked about the challenge of driving the low-slung vehicles and avoiding bumps with minimal suspension. His team won $1,000 for their car’s 759 mpg performance, taking second place.

No doubt these are futuristic, rather impractical vehicles. The descriptions of the various vehicle designs in the second linked story are rather amusing. But still, those kind of mileages are impressive. And nice for ethanol advocates that many of the vehicle’s great performances come with using fuel ethanol. Here’s hoping these young high school and college students around the globe have gotten the bug to build careers around designing truly fuel efficient vehicles.