A Tank Full of Education

A team of UC Davis engineering students has won the "triple crown" of North American fuel efficiency contests for students in a record-breaking sweep. The students recently beat 35 other U.S. and Canadian universities in three competitions in Canada, Michigan and California, driving supermileage cars they designed in a UC Davis class. One car set a U.S. record of 3,313 miles per gallon of gasoline; the other set a world record for methanol-fueled vehicles of 2,083 miles per gallon. (Both cars can run on methanol or gasoline.) While these competition cars may eventually help pave a piece of the long road toward more efficient cars for consumers, engineering professor Andrew A. Frank hopes his vehicle-design class produces engineers who can find inventive solutions to everyday problems. His students say they value the unusual class for what it has done for them. "It changed my life," says graduate student Mark Duvall. "It gave me the confidence I couldn't get in classes." Duvall says the supermileage project gives engineering students like him a chance to excel, and it has encouraged several students to pursue graduate degrees in engineering. For more information, media should contact Duvall at (916) 756-6488 or Frank at 752-8120. Tip by Carol Cruzan Morton, News Service, 752-7704.

Media Resources

Andy Fell, Research news (emphasis: biological and physical sciences, and engineering), 530-752-4533, ahfell@ucdavis.edu