Reporting Matt Roush
MARSHALL – A team from Penn State University’s Behrend College won SAE International’s Supermileage engineering competition this year with a fuel efficiency of 1,485 miles per gallon.
Three other teams achieved more than 1,000 mpg with their vehicles, including the runners-up from Brigham Young University (1,135 mpg). Students from Universite’ Laval in Quebec, Canada, edged out a team from Northern Illinois University for third place (1,051 mpg vs. 1,033 mpg).
Now in its 33rd year, the annual two-day event took place June 7-8 at Eaton Corp.’s Proving Grounds in Marshall. Hosted by Eaton since its inception in 1980 as a way to generate public awareness of high-mileage fuel economy, the Supermileage competition challenges teams to build a one-person, fuel-efficient vehicle based around a one-cylinder, four-cycle engine donated by Briggs & Stratton. Participants are encouraged to use advanced materials and technologies, as well as their design creativity and imaginations, to get the most out of their vehicles. The most fuel-efficient vehicle over the 9.6-mile course wins the event.
More than 30 teams worldwide submitted design proposals this year, including entrants from Mexico and Pakistan. Of the 18 teams that brought cars to the event, 15 passed the technical inspection and nine finished the 9.6-mile course.
In addition to having the highest fuel economy, the Penn State team also had the top Design Report (combined written and verbal) and total score for the competition. The University of Michigan and Rowan University (Glassboro, N.J.) teams finished second and third, respectively, in the Design Report.
Students from Brigham Young University received the prize for top newcomer, while the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology vehicle was voted the most visually appealing.