Mars grad takes part in competition
June 10, 2013

ERIE — Robert Ford, a sophomore from Mars, will represent Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, at the Society of Automotive Engineers’ International Supermileage Challenge.

The two-day event promotes automotive fuel economy. The top cars are expected to exceed 3,000 mpg.

Twenty-eight university teams were to compete at the event, held June 6 and 7, at the Eaton Corporation’s test track in Marshall, Mich. The Penn State Behrend team won the competition in 2012, squeezing 1,485 miles from a single gallon of gas.

The team’s new car could double that. It’s 20 pounds lighter, with a spring-leaf suspension and a rotary-valve engine — one of maybe four in the world — built by the students. It will run on $1,000 handmade radial tires.

For more information about the International Supermileage Challenge, go to

For more about Penn State Behrend, a comprehensive residential college with more than 4,700 students, go to