Two Thousand Miles Per Gallon?

April 19, 2009 at 11:38 am 1 comment

Well, not quite. But a team of Penn State mechanical-engineering students won the Shell Eco-Marathon this weekend in California with a car they designed that got almost that much: 1,912.9 mpg.

Guys, you HAVE to let me take this for a spin....

Guys, you HAVE to let me take this for a spin....

The competition was held at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.—the same place where they have NASCAR races like the Pepsi 500. The Penn State entry, called Blood, Sweat, and Gears, didn’t exactly set any NASCAR speed records, but that wasn’t the point. The object of the competition was simply to get the best gas economy possible, using any of several kinds of fuel: gasoline, diesel, liquified petroleum gas, ethanol, hydrogen, solar, or something called “fatty acid methyl ester” (which sounds more like the kind of thing my doctor would lecture me about).

Penn State’s entry was a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle. It’s the second straight year that Penn State has won the competition, which attracted more than 50 teams from around the country.

Here’s the only news story I can find so far about the results. More news as we get it. In the meantime, you can check out the blog that three members of the Penn State team (Toby Snider, Matt Shiskowski, and Tom Keenan) have kept, starting with the assembly of their car back in February.

Thanks to Penn State grad Dick Williams ’80, who is president of Shell WindEnergy, for calling my attention to all of this.

Tina Hay, editor

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Peter Sullivan  |  April 21, 2009 at 12:10 am

    Mrs. Hay,

    I would just like to make a note about your post about the Penn State Eco-Marathon Team. The members you listed in your story were not all involved with the competition out in California. We have updated our blog ( to show all of the members involved in winning the fuel cell class at the Eco-Marathon. If it is possible to make this change, my team members and I would appreciate it.

    Thank You,
    Peter Sullivan

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