Ford seems determined to paint its Blue Oval green. With a new high-mileage import like the Fiesta joining the hybrid Fusion near the pointy end of the fuel economy pyramid, the Ford marketing team seems emboldened to convince the world that everything it touches turns to green, even the iconic Mustang. Throughout the decades, the image of the Mustang has always been a car that loves to be driven hard and fast, and purchased by drivers whose concerns over fuel economy generally show up on the daily priority list somewhere south of, well, everything.

Yet Ford dreamed up a stunt worthy of interest. It took a stock 2011 Mustang V6, filled its gas tank and turned it loose at the high-banked Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee for a test run. The goal: To see how far it could go before it ran out of gas. While the results were pretty extraordinary, we are still left wondering exactly who is supposed to be impressed here. Fuel conscious? NASCAR fans? Both? It could be that the new normal in the automotive world is bridging the two in the most authentic ways possible.

The Mustang completed a total of 1,457 laps -- each lap is just over half a mile -- in 17 hours and 40 minutes, meaning it averaged 48.5 miles per gallon over the 776.5 miles driven. (The V6 Mustang with an automatic transmission has an EPA rating of 31 miles per gallon highway, and 19 mpg in the city.) The entire run was made on a single tank of fuel, 16 gallons. A team of five drivers, including four Ford engineers and NASCAR driver David Ragan, drove the car.

To hype the test, Ford sponsored a contest where the public was to guess how many laps the 'Stang would run. The company said that more than 51,000 fans submitted guesses online, and that one of those who picked the winning number would win a Mustang.

Ford reported that the average speed during the fuel economy run was 43.9 miles per hour. The drivers, who acted as not much more than human cruise controllers, "prepared for the challenge by implementing fuel efficient driving tips like minimizing the use of air conditioning, steady and consistent driving, avoiding sudden stops/starts and by keeping the RPMs low."

Just like most every Mustang driver, right?

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