Okay, we admit it, we're as smitten by emerging and flashy technology as much as the next green geeks. But sometimes we get so caught up in the vehicles of tomorrow that we forget to look back at the incredibly green vehicles that have come before. One of the best – and most lampooned – was the Geo Metro.
The Metro's mighty 1.0 liter three-banger was capable of putting up 50 miles per gallon or better all day long. But one year ago, a fella named Darin Cosgrove, founder of Ecomodder.com, coaxed his modded-up Metro to almost triple digit mpg at Watkins Glen, New York for the fifth annual Green Grand Prix expo and fuel economy rally.
Darin's list of mods is pretty extensive and they run the gamut from over-inflating his tires to disabling his alternator on the second half of the course to installing an aerodynamic Kammback to help discourage a parachute-like vortex formation at the back of the car. He also installed a shifter-mounted engine kill switch for "pulse-and-glide" engine-off coasting. Not exactly the kind of driving tricks and techniques we expect the average U.S. commuter to employ to save go-juice, but it's inspiring nonetheless.
By the time Darin finished the 79-mile trip around Seneca Lake, he'd managed to squeeze 99.7 mpg (U.S.) from the Metro. Astounding. Darin, we salute you and all the other self-described purveyors of 'fuel efficiency geekery' over at metrompg.com. Nobody is getting more bang for the efficiency buck than you cats. For the rest of you contemplating a new green car purchase, all we've got to say is this: 50 mpg for $1,200 – it's even a convertible.