<p class="MsoNormal"><em>This story is part of a </em><a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy" target="_blank"><em>special series</em></a><em> that explores energy issues. For more, visit <a href="http://www.greatenergychallenge.com/" target="_blank">The Great Energy Challenge</a></em>.</p><p class="MsoNormal">Styled to look like a hot rod of the past and to sip fuel like a car from the future, Louisiana Tech University's Roadster took home one of two grand prizes in the Shell Eco-marathon Americas.</p><p class="MsoNormal">The team from Ruston, Louisiana, achieved 647 miles per gallon (275 kilometers per liter) in the student competition for &nbsp;design of high-efficiency vehicles. Louisiana Tech won the $5,000 top award for "urban concept” vehicles—cars that meet the safety requirements to be driven on city streets—plus an additional $1,000 award for design in the April 16-17 contest in Houston.</p><p class="MsoNormal">(Related Photos: <a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2011/04/pictures/110418-pictures-shell-ecomarathon-2011/">Cars of Tomorrow at the Shell Eco-marathon</a>)</p>

Louisiana Tech University's Roadster

This story is part of a special series that explores energy issues. For more, visit The Great Energy Challenge.

Styled to look like a hot rod of the past and to sip fuel like a car from the future, Louisiana Tech University's Roadster took home one of two grand prizes in the Shell Eco-marathon Americas.

The team from Ruston, Louisiana, achieved 647 miles per gallon (275 kilometers per liter) in the student competition for  design of high-efficiency vehicles. Louisiana Tech won the $5,000 top award for "urban concept” vehicles—cars that meet the safety requirements to be driven on city streets—plus an additional $1,000 award for design in the April 16-17 contest in Houston.

(Related Photos: Cars of Tomorrow at the Shell Eco-marathon)

Photograph by Harley Soltes, National Geographic

Pictures: Cool Cars Designed by Students to Sip Fuel

Using everything from solar panels to plastic, students cobbled together some amazing, odd, super-high-mileage vehicles for the Shell Eco-marathon Americas in Houston.

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