Backseat Smart Driver - Click above to watch the video after the break

The Drive $marter Challenge was started in early 2008 as a way to share tips on driving while using less fuel. The latest delivery method is a series four winning videos in the Drive Smarter Challenge video contest. The top prize goes to "Backseat Smart Driver," made by David Markus of Beverly Hills, California. Markus created a new character, the back seat driver who you might actually want to drive with, since he gives out advice on how to save gas while getting around. For his short video, Markus' prize was $5,000 and you can watch it after the jump.

The other winning videos include some kissing carpoolers, kids who help green up a car and a driver flirting with the GPS unit. They're also available after the jump.

[Source: Drive Smarter Challenge]


4 Wacky Yet Enlightening Videos Highlighting Money-Saving Gas Tips 'Walk Off' with Top Prizes In Drive Smarter Challenge Video Contest

- Making Fuel Efficiency Fun -

Washington, D.C, October 28, 2009 – Don't you loathe those irritating, know-it-all backseat drivers - unless, of course, you're the smart, knowledgeable one in the backseat? Playing off that concept in "Backseat Smart Driver," David Markus of Beverly Hills, Calif., walked off with the $5,000 grand prize in the Drive Smarter Challenge campaign video contest. His video features two buddies preparing to carpool who get fuel-efficiency tips from a dictatorial backseat driver looking over their shoulders.

Video contest entrants took highly creative approaches to tickle viewers' funny bones and illustrate driving and vehicle maintenance tips that increase vehicle fuel efficiency and help motorists spend less on gasoline (

"At an early age," reveals Markus, "my father gave me tips to drive more efficiently - accelerate slowly, inflate tires - so when I started filming, I already knew most of the tips. My friends actually tease that I 'drive like a grandma.'" The freelance videographer and aspiring film director plans to use his contest winnings, donated by campaign partner ExxonMobil, to "develop my skills as a director and photographer and purchase lighting equipment and camera lenses."

Public voting determined the four contest prizewinners from among the top 10 finalists. Like many of the others, Markus reached out to supportive friends, family, and colleagues through Facebook and e-mails. Although the contest drew entries from across the country, Californians walked off with the prizes. The remaining prizes go to:
* Second Place: "Car Pooling" by Alec Wells, a freelance script reader in Los Angeles, who highlights the opportunity to save $180 annually by carpooling twice a week – in this case, with an amorous couple smooching in the back seat while an irritated friend chauffeurs them. Next time, the "chauffeur" (actually played by Alec) vows, he's taking the Metro! His second-place entry wins him a VIP Indy Racing League Package which includes two tickets and two garage/pit lane passes to an Indy race event, plus a test high-speed ride in an Indy-style, bio ethanol-fueled, two-seater race car with a pro-driver.

"How cool is that!" exclaims Wells about the prize donated by Indy team Bryan Herta Autosport. Wells is taking with him his friend Chris, one of the video's smooching "carpoolers," who is also part of his sketch comedy team, The Outside Joke, a YouTube partner. He entered the contest because "I believe in the cause – it's not shallow." Wells explains that he chose the carpooling topic and unique approach "because it's provocative, quick, and made us laugh."

* Third Place: "Driving $mart: 3 Easy Tips" by Arturo Morales, a part-time teachers' assistant and aspiring filmmaker residing in Paramount, Calif., spotlights a child inflating tires, throwing junk from the trunk, and checking the air filter, all set to up-beat music. He wins a VIP NASCAR Race Package, which includes two tickets and two garage/pit passes to a NASCAR race event.

"The video was fairly spontaneous," says Morales, a recent UC Santa Barbara graduate in film and media studies who recruited his nephew for the child's role. "I selected tips that are easy to do and reached out to my international friends from school and friends on Facebook to vote."

* Fourth Place: In "A Smarter GPS" by Andy Anderson of San Diego, a flirty driver momentarily forgets he's married and becomes enamored with the "woman" behind his GPS system's tantalizing voice. Anderson claims the Transportation Efficiency Package, including four Michelin Energy Saver All Season Tires (or comparable tires for his vehicle), a one-year AAA membership donated by Rubber Manufacturers Association's Be Tire Smart, and two memberships in the Silver Spoke League of American Bicyclists.

As it turns out, Anderson's prize could not have been timelier. "I really need new tires!" he notes. He reports that he called the actor in his video right away with the good news. "It's going to be hard to split the tires," he chuckles, "but we will figure something out." Producing the video was a family experience, he says, as his children and wife got involved with the filming. "My son actually did some of the filming in the back seat. The video contest was a very educational process. We realized our trunk was full of beach chairs and other things so we dumped it out in the middle of filming."

The four winning videos can be viewed at, and the campaign's fuel-efficiency tips and other resources are available on the main Drive $marter Challenge website: The 10 finalist videos are on the Alliance to Save Energy's YouTube channel, which will ultimately feature all 65 contest videos.

The online contest is a feature of the award-winning Drive Smarter Challenge fuel-efficiency campaign created and managed by the Alliance to Save Energy and sponsored by 16 additional diverse nonprofit, governmental, trade association, and for-profit partners.

"We are thrilled that the Drive Smarter Challenge video contest drew so many imaginative, entertaining entries," says Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan. "The contest was a new, fun way to spread our campaign's message – that drivers can empower themselves to lower their vehicle fuel costs. Kudos to both the winners and the other 61 entrants!" Callahan also thanked all of the prize donors and campaign partners.

Prizes were contributed by ExxonMobil, NASCAR, Bryan Herta Autosport, the Rubber Manufacturers Association's Be Tire Smart, Michelin, the League of American Bicyclists, and the Car Care Council.

The 17 Drive Smarter Challenge campaign partners include the Alliance to Save Energy, American Petroleum Institute, American Public Transportation Association, Bryan Herta Autosport, Car Care Council, Citizens for Affordable Energy, Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, ExxonMobil, Green Solutions Magazine, League of American Bicyclists, NASCAR, National Association of Counties, National Association of State Energy Officials, National Independent Auto Dealers Association, National Fuel Funds Network, National Low Income Energy Consortium, and Rubber Manufacturers Association's Be Tire Smart

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