No disagreement on the issues with biofuels, or that smaller and lighter vehicles are inherently more efficient than heavier vehicles. The reason I berated this this poster was not because I disagreed with those the tiny grains of truth in his post, but instead the over-the-top, invective-laced, holier-than-thou ranting and irrational/illogical extrapolations.
Is it a fair complaint that a 100% ICE-based solution violates of the spirit of the competition? Sure it is. I might disagree, but I wouldn't berate anyone for it. I do, however, take exception to the comments in this thread describing the winning team as "selfish rednecks", "tossers", "cheaters", and "[a bunch of school children]" who have "undermined [progress] and possibly set the world back".
If you don't like the rules or results of the competition take it up with the people who ran it. I have yet to see anyone or anything imply that the result was, in fact, a violation of the rules or the spirit of the competition *as defined by the organizers*... vs. a commenter's interpretation of what the rules should have been and who should have won.
The fact of the matter is that most of the people really pissed about this whole deal seem to be upset because they feel that: 1.) an ICE-based solution of any sort is fundamentally bad/wrong, and/or 2.) electric solutions *should* be the superior solution and represented to the public as such, even if that's not really the case. Both of these views are ultimately value-judgments, and ones that the competition organizers appear to have avoided taking a stand on (although the lack of a biodiesel winner *may* have been intentional, as "diesel" solutions of any sort are typically viewed negatively where ethanol solutions are more accepted in the current US political climate).
As other have posted, maybe it is sad commentary that the most fuel efficient car we can build *at this point* is not substantially different than an old Citroën... but as the saying goes - "wherever you go, that's where you're at". There's nothing to say that EVs or Hybrids won't start winning this competition in the future should it continue with the current set of rules.
In fact, the Li-ion car (also built by "rednecks" from the South) is fully electric and won the side-by-side category. At 187 MPGe vs. the VLC's 102.5 MPGe it's not stretch to think that a 4-seater built in the same manner probably could have won the Mainstream category. If you like EV's this should be considered good news as it confirms the higher inherent efficiency of all-electric (to say nothing of its practicality problems). If you're a fan of hybrids I really don't know what to say other than this competition seems to confirm that there is a limit to how efficient you can make a vehicle of that type (they are, however, much more practical than an EV - which is still a good thing).
Let's keep the conversation civil! If you want unreasoned/unhinged ranting that's what Ars is for.