Engineering students from all over the world are entering their eco-friendly vehicles in the Shell Eco-marathon Americas competition. The competition, held in Houston, will see whose vehicle can go the farthest on the least amount of fuel. A team from the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) will fight for a chance to top last year’s winning vehicle from a Canadian university, which went 3,587 miles per gallon.

After logging several hours preparing their vehicles, the MSOE students are confident that they can take the title. “It would be great to have a single-seater vehicle that only used a teaspoon of fuel for short trips,” said Greg Kucab, an MSOE junior from Palatine, Ill.

Many innovative design changes have been implemented over the years to make the vehicles more lightweight. Using materials such as carbon fiber and improving the engine technology could nudge regular passenger cars in the direction of super-mileage vehicles.

With guidance from Jim Colegrove, a senior composites manufacturing engineer who worked for Trek Bicycle Corp. for 24 years, the MSOE students have been able to optimize the weight and stiffness of their vehicle with the use of carbon fiber.