Three grown men, a global positioning system satellite navigation screen, and a map with directions. Seems like shooting fish in a barrel, right? Wrong. These fish apparently are wearing kevlar vests, you have a slingshot, and do I see a chain gun in the flippers of that sturgeon homing in on me?

That's what it seemed like while attempting the MPG Challenge, the residential/rural course in Madison, WI where hypermilers tested their skills against one another. Except, it wasn't the full course - we were, for the sake of time, only doing 9 of the 22 miles laid out on the route.

Our vessel for the treacherous voyage was the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, equipped with the same Hybrid Synergy Drive as the Prius, but instead of combusting the more planet-friendly amounts of fossil-fuels with an electric-assisted, asthmatic, chain-smoker-on-the-patch 1.6 liter four-cylinder, there is a 3.3 liter V6 aided by two electric motors.

Thankfully, in spite of numerous failed attempts at navigation, once the actual course was located and followed, we achieved an average of 44.5 mpg over those 9 miles. Tell that to the EPA.

Glad to be back in the blogosphere. Two more Hybrid Fest videos coming up, so stay tuned!


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