A team of eighteen Louisiana Tech students leaves next Wednesday for Houston to compete in the 7th annual Shell Eco-Marathon.  

The objective is to see which team can get the best mileage from the vehicles the students have designed and built, and Faculty Advisor Heath Tims says the Tech team has faired very well in years past.    Two years ago, one of Tech's Urban Concept entries set a new U.S. record of 646 miles per gallon for a gasoline-powered vehicle.  The team also won first place that year for overall design and safety.  Last year, the team set another record of 488 miles per gallon for a diesel-powered vehicle, as well as winning awards for design and team spirit.  Dr. Tims says the students work on these vehicles on their own time and don't get class credit for doing it.