San Luis Obispo -- The Cal Poly Supermileage Team is gearing up for this year's Shell Eco Marathon.
Today was the final day of testing for the team's 2012 prototype that gets about 3-thousand miles per gallon.
The engineering students are making the final adjustments to their car. They head to the marathon in Houston next week and they'll compete against at least 50 teams from across North and South America.
This year's Supermileage car is called Lamina.
Materials engineering student Ann Peters says it's Latin for "blade" and they got the idea from a kitchen knife.
Lamina goes between 10 to 25 miles an hour. Peters says, "We use a burn and coast method with this car we'll get up to speed and then kill the engine and then coast for as long as possible."
The ideas this award winning team uses may one day be used on consumer models. Peters says, "You wouldn't go so drastic as a car like this but all the concepts that we apply here can be applied elsewhere in normal cars."
The Lamina is made of carbon fiber, some bike parts like special low resistance tires on BMX bike rims, and a modified Honda generator.
The students say the biggest factors are size and weight
Engineering Student Gabriel Mountjoy says, "It's really just sizing an engine properly for your car, we don't need all that extra horsepower that people love, that is one way we can increase our efficiency and fuel economy and you don't need to invent anything, just smaller engines for decently sized cars."
For the competition the Lamina will go 24 minutes around a 6 mile track using a small glass fuel tank about the size of soda can.
Mountjoy says, "What I hope to accomplish from this is to open the eyes of the public and show people that you don't have to get ten miles per gallon in your truck, that you can actually get 100 miles a gallon in your truck or something that isn't nearly as sleek or small as this thing."
Your car may not be as small and efficient as the Lamina, but you can use some of the team's fuel saving techniques.
Mountjoy says, "We use the burn and coast method, so if you have to slam on your brakes when you come to a stop then you probably used too much to get to there, so that's just wasted fuel every time you put on your brakes."
The team plans to use only 10 to 12 milliliters of fuel in the competition.
They are hoping for another win this year. They have won something every year since the competition started in 2007.
The Supermileage team has advice for you to get better gas mileage.
Weight has a lot to do with fuel efficiency, but so does a lead foot. The team says lighten up on the gas pedal, coast more often, and put your car in neutral if you are waiting at a light.
Last year the team entered the Capax, an urban concept car that can be driven on the road, it gets 425 miles per gallon.
Saturday, May 25 2013 2:16 AM EDT2013-05-25 06:16:27 GMT
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