The Avion: Canada to Mexico 14 gallons of gas

No one cared about fuel economy in the ’80s. I drove a used six-cylinder Datsun that got terrible mileage, especially as driven by a high-school boy, where you needed to see if you could hit 85 m.p.h. on the way to the grocery store. But I was easily able to fill the tank on busboy wages, as gas was 99 cents per gallon, cheaper than soda.

Nevertheless, in 1984 inventors Craig Henderson and Bill Green developed the Avion, a hand-built car that hit an astonishing high of 113 miles per gallon in test runs. It wasn’t intended to be a “green” car; the duo set out to build a high-performance sports car, but by using manufacturing techniques “more closely related to small airplane construction than steel stamped automobiles”–composite materials are used widely throughout–the Avion achieved absurdly low mileage even though it used a standard Chrysler four-cylinder engine. Henderson drove it from Mexico to Canada while averaging 103 miles per gallon.

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