Taking place in downtown Houston, Shell’s Eco-marathon Americas aims to surpass 2,188.6 miles per gallon for its 2013 edition.

Students from across the Americas can again bring their passion for energy solutions to Houston, where teams will attempt to build a vehicle that can surpass 2,188.6 miles per gallon.

The seventh annual Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2013 is now open for online registration to high school and college students from across North and South America.

Over the next three decades, earth’s population will grow to more than 9 billion people, but meeting those energy needs requires innovation and solutions today. Shell Eco-marathon is one, visible demonstration of Shell facing, head-on, the growing demand for energy in a responsible way.

From designing the initial concept, to building their innovative designs, this event challenges students to take their fuel-efficient creations and compete with schools from across the continents to see who can travel the farthest distance using the least amount of energy.

Held globally in the Americas, Europe and Asia, Shell Eco-marathon is both a challenge and an educational platform that fosters the development of leading technology for greater energy efficiency and transportation performance.

From its start in 2007 as a North America focused event, the competition now hosts student teams from Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and for the first time this year, a team from Chile – making it truly an Americas event.

“We are competing in Shell Eco-marathon Americas because we want to get our university’s name in the international circle of energy-efficient design,” said William Zuniga of the Universidad de Chile. “We are really looking forward to joining the other teams at the competition and have set the bar high for our team’s first trip to Houston.”

Taking place April 5th to 7th on the streets of downtown Houston, the 2013 challenge is already shaping up to be one of the largest events yet with more than 30 teams from Canada, South America and the United States pre-registered, including 16 new teams.

In an Americas first, the student team from Mater Dei High School in Evansville, Ind., achieved the farthest distance using the least amount of energy in all four categories they entered in 2012, making them the top winners from last year’s event. The team’s Prototype gasoline vehicle, “9th Gen,” achieved an astonishing 2,188.6 miles per gallon, beating out the competition from 48 other vehicles, including the three-time reigning champions, Universite Laval from Quebec, Canada.

To get ready for this year’s competition, the Mater Dei students are making plans to bring back their winning vehicles from last year and also plan to remake their UrbanConcept car. “We are looking forward to bringing our best again to Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2013,” said Joe Ritter of Mater Dei High School. “We know it’s going to be tough to beat our record from last year, but we plan to work hard to modify our cars to go even farther.”

The team from Universite Laval is also hoping to grab the crown.

“We had some major engine issues at the 2012 event. One of our biggest projects for this year is to correct and improve the engine to try and reach our goal of 2,933 mpg,” said Louis-David Coulombe of Universite Laval. “After last year, the team is more motivated than ever to increase the reliability of the car and improve our strategy for the 2013 challenge.”

Student teams can choose to participate in one or both of the Prototype and UrbanConcept classes at Shell Eco-marathon. The Prototype class challenges student teams to enter futuristic prototypes and the UrbanConcept class focuses on more “roadworthy” fuel-efficient vehicles. In the Americas event for both classes, teams can use a range of six official energy sources – including fuels such as gasoline, diesel as well as alternative fuels such as hydrogen, ethanol, FAME and battery electric technologies.

Interested teams are invited to sign-up for Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2013 and help push the boundaries of fuel efficiency!