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IP/06/661

Brussels, 19 May 2006

Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs waves the starting flag of an energy efficient car race

Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs will this afternoon give the go-ahead to the Shell Eco-marathon car race, a competition for all types of fuel-efficient vehicles to see which can run the longest with a given amount of fuel. More than 3.000 young students from around 250 educational institutes across Europe will compete with innovative and unusual fuel-efficient cars on the asphalt of Formula 1 circuit of Nogaro, in south-west France. “The transport sector has a huge potential for energy savings. A race of this kind is an excellent opportunity for young researchers to find original solutions capable of making transport less energy-devouring”, Commissioner Piebalgs said.

Vehicles participating in this competition should cover as much distance as possible with one litre of fuel. The record has risen from 680 Km in the first edition of the race, in 1985, to close to 4.000 Km last year. Alternative energy vehicles have been participating in the Shell Eco-Marathon since 2003.

Prior to the race itself, Commissioner Piebalgs will participate in a dialogue on Energy Efficiency with EU and national decision-makers, academia, citizens and media.

The Green Paper “A European Strategy for Sustainable, Competitive and Secure Energy” adopted by the Commission in March, identifies energy efficiency as a priority objective to combat energy dependency, boost competitiveness and fight climate change.

According to a previous Commission Green Paper on Energy Efficiency, the European Union can save as much as 20% of its energy in a cost-efficient manner, the equivalent of €60 billion per year. It may also create more than 1 million new jobs by boosting energy efficiency and energy savings. This Green Paper underlines the capability of the Transport sector to save energy. After this summer, the European Commission will present an Energy Efficiency Action Plan with concrete measures to reach the objective.


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