Fuel? Just a little bit!

Story and pictures by Jeremy R. Chua. Additional pictures courtesy of Tan Chong Motor.
3 Jun 2009

No flooring the throttle.  No hard braking.  We're drawing the line at "No air con" though!

"Dude did you shave this morning? Did you give yourself a good exfoliating scrub too? You know every little bit of weight saved helps, right?"

It sounded more like a conversation about some spa treatment, but it wasn't. It was in fact, 4:30am and for some reason, that didn't hinder us from being our usual boisterous selves. The Latio owners taking part must've been wondering as to what we ingested to end up so chatty this early in the morning.

But I digress. Yours truly, along with Sheldon Trollope from Top Gear Singapore, were invited to cover Nissan's Fuel Frugal Challenge. The participants were thirty Nissan Latio owners, who had to drive approximately 500 kilometers, using the least amount of petrol possible.

The event was flagged off at Tan Chong's Bukit Timah showroom. From there, we drove down the AYE towards the Tuas Checkpoint. Once across the border and in Malaysia, we headed towards a designated Shell station in Gelang Patah, Johor. Each Nissan Latio were then given five minutes to pump petrol.

And the moment the pump "clicked", the nozzle would be removed, and the petrol tank would be sealed.

To even the playing field, magnetic fuel-saving devices were disallowed, along with any aftermarket fuel additives that could potentially increase fuel economy. During the drive, participants had to come in for mandatory pit stops and get their road books stamped - so, if you missed a pit stop (like we did), you were automatically out of contention.

If anyone was entertaining any thoughts about driving at 70 km/h in order to win, those thoughts soon vanished when we were told that the challenge had to be completed in eight hours. At any rate, the recommended driving speed was between 80-90 km/h.


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