For the second year in a row, the student team from Laval University in Quebec, Canada took home the $5,000 top prize in a worst-to-first finish at the Shell Eco-marathon Americas. In case you missed the headline, their winning entry in the "Prototype" category returned 2,487.5 miles per gallon. We find it incredibly thrilling to report mpg ratings that require a comma so we're going to write it again: 2,487.5 mpg. Wow.

This year's Eco-marathon Americas began Saturday, March 27th with 42 teams on the Houston, TX road course gunning for Team Laval University's 2009 record of 2,757.1 mpg. The event has two entry categories: the "Prototype" category aims for maximum efficiency without regard to actual real-world driveability – and allows those amazing mpg resulte. The "UrbanConcept" category encourages entrants to construct vehicles that are closer to fulfilling the needs of an actual road-going consumer. This year's UrbanConcept winner was Mater Dei High School in Evansville, IN. Team Mater Dei took the grand prize for the second year in a row by pulling down 437.2 mpg. The winning vehicles in both the Prototype and the UrbanConcept categories used combustion engines.

"The 2010 Shell Eco-marathon Americas is a challenge that brings together high school and college students from across the Americas to push the boundaries and design mobility solutions," said Mark Singer, global project manager for the Shell Eco-marathon. "And, it is a clear demonstration that we're never too young to start making energy innovations and efficiency a priority. It was inspiring to see these vehicles of the future on the streets of downtown Houston this year," he said.

The Prototype entries included 28 vehicles powered by combustion engines, five by fuel cell/hydrogen technology, two by solar power, and two by diesel fuel. The UrbanConcept entries included six vehicles powered by combustion engines, two by diesel fuel, one by fuel cell/hydrogen and one by solar power.

[Source: Shell, Green Car Congress]