MANILA, Philippines ? There was no fanfare and hardly any spectators. In the dead of night, there were only the cars, their drivers and Department of Energy officials armed with pen, pad and calculator to determine which vehicles were fuel misers or costly gas users.
From 11 p.m. of Oct. 23 to 6 a.m. the next day, 52 different vehicles representing 14 brands ran 333 kilometers in DOE?s most extensive fuel consumption run to date.
In the end, a mini car with the smallest engine and the barest of amenities was deemed the top fuel miser to run on a per kilometer basis. The 0.8-liter Suzuki Alto (gasoline-powered, manual transmission) registered a fuel economy of 34 km per liter (better mileage than many motorcycles) and a fuel cost of P1.38 per km.
The costliest in terms of fuel consumption was the 3.2-liter Volvo XC70 (gas, automatic). Otherwise known for its sturdiness and premium on safety, the heavy XC70 showed a fuel mileage of 11 km per liter or a fuel cost of P4.26 per km.
The DOE?s seven-hour fuel consumption run transformed Edsa, the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) into one long proving ground.
Supervised by 20 support vehicles, 10 backup vehicles and three advance vehicles, the convoy of 52 vehicles filled up their tanks with gas or diesel at the Shell station at The Fort and assembled at the starting line ? the DOE compound in Taguig City.
The destination? Subic via Edsa, NLEx and SCTEx. After reaching Subic, the convoy, representing 14 brands (some models did not participate) returned to the DOE compound using the same route for a total run of 333 km.
The vehicles, which included all types of sedans, sports utility vehicles, multi-purpose vehicles and pick-ups, filled up their tanks again to determine how much fuel they consumed. No LPG-powered vehicles were used on this run.
On Edsa, vehicles maintained a speed of 40 kph, while at NLEx and SCTex their speed was 80 kph. The air-conditioning was turned on and set to low fan, with the coldest thermostat setting. Only one stop was made during the entire run.
And the winners are ...
DOE officials took note of the fuel mileage and the resulting peso-per-kilometer consumption of each vehicle.
The top 10 fuel misers are:
1) Suzuki Alto 0.8L MT Gas ? P1.38/km (34 km per liter)
2) Hyundai Getz 1.5L MT Diesel ? P1.82/km (25.22 km/liter)
3) Hyundai Accent 1.5L MT Diesel ? P1.97/km (23.38 km/liter)
4) Mercedes Benz C-180K 1.8L AT Gas ? P2.07/km (22.70km/liter)
5) Toyota Vios 1.3L MT Gas ? P2.08/km-(22.67 km/liter)
6) Ford Focus 2.0L MT Diesel ? P2.15/km (21.39km/liter)
7) Kia Picanto 1.1 AT Gas ? P2.18/km (21.60 km/liter)
8) BMW 320D 2.0L AT Diesel ? P2.24/km (20.53 km/liter)
9) Isuzu DMAX Lt 4x2 2.5L MT Diesel ? P2.24/km (20.57 km/liter)
10) Isuzu Alterra 4x2 3.0L MT diesel ? P2.37/km (19.44 km/liter)
The top 10 gas users are:
1) Volvo XC70 3.2L AT Gas ? P4.26/km (11.05 km/liter)
2) Suzuki SGX 1.6 AT Gas ? P3.77/km (12.48km/liter)
3) Mitsubishi Outlander 2.4L AT Gas ? P3.70/km (12.73 km/liter)
4) Ford Escape 2.3L AT Gas ? P3.68/km (12.78 km/liter)
5) BMW X5. 30d 3.0L AT Diesel ? P3.65/km (12.60 km/liter)
6) Mitsubishi Montero 3.2L AT Diesel ? P3.52/km (13.05 km/liter)
7) Suzuki APV GA 1.6L MT Gas ? P3.42/km (13.78km/liter)
8) Ssangyong Stavic 2.7L AT Diesel ? P3.33/km (13.82 km/liter)
9) Mitsubishi Lancer EX 2.0L AT Gas ? P3.28/km (14.37km/liter)
10) Ford Everest 2.5L AT Diesel ? P3.27/km (14.07 km/liter)
The vehicles in the DOE fuel run were freely compared against each other and only their fuel consumption were considered while setting aside other key factors such as engine displacement, vehicle weight and vehicle classification.
The participating vehicles, however, were required to have odometer readings of not more than 15,000 km to ensure that the engines were running at optimum efficiency.
Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes told participants that hopefully, the exercise and its results would encourage consumers to consider fuel consumption and not just ?porma (for show)? in their car choices because ?we have [an] energy crisis.?
Mario Marasigan, director for the Energy Utilization Management Bureau, said this was a ?rough tank test and not a scientific, instrumented test.?
He added that the DOE?s goal was to eventually standardize tests once instruments become available.
?There are refrigerators and air-conditioners with energy efficiency rating labels. Our ultimate goal is to label the vehicles as well for fuel efficiency,? Marasigan said.
Alex Loinaz, DOE technical consultant, said the rough tank test would already be indicative of fuel consumption since the vehicles ran the same distance, the same speed and in controlled and identical conditions. Variables were minimized to the drivers? habits.
Unlike other fuel consumption runs conducted by private companies, participating cars at the DOE?s run were not allowed ?short-cuts? such as shutting the engine and coasting, turning off the air-conditioning thermostat, tailgating or folding side view mirrors to reduce wind drag.
Marshals for the run included the Citizen Action Groups and the Automobile Association of the Philippines.
Get ready, get set
Before the start of the run, cars were filled with fuel, and their trip meters set to zero. Slanted ramps were used to hasten the flow of fuel to the tanks since cars have different fuel pipe configurations. After the run, the cars were filled up again at the same filling station for final tallying.
The trip meter reading was divided by the number of liters consumed, which resulted in an average distance the car ran for each liter of fuel.
To minimize inconsistencies at the fuel filling pumps, the four pumps at the Shell Station at The Fort were calibrated by the Oil Industry Management Bureau three days before the run.
Each car carried three passengers for an approximate combined weight of 210 kilos.