What we observed at the DOE fuel economy run

What we observed at the DOE fuel economy run image

Text: Marcus De Guzman / Photos: Marcus De Guzman | posted June 13, 2016 14:16

Midnight fuel economy run along SCTEX and TPLEX

The Department of Energy (DOE), along with Petron Corporation, recently held the Euro 4 Fuel Economy Run last May 27, 2016. Aimed to strengthen the Philippine Energy Standards and Labeling Program (PESLP), it was the first Euro 4 Energy Efficiency test that was conducted in the country.

Seventy cars from twenty-two manufacturers were present during the economy run and were comprised of 38 gasoline-powered cars and 32 diesel-powered vehicles. The former used Petron XCS while the latter were topped up with Petron Turbo Diesel.

300 km route of the DOE-Petron Euro 4 Fuel Eco-Run

AutoIndustriya.com took part in observing how the Department of Energy conducted the runs in determining the fuel efficiency of the country's most popular cars. And here are our observations.

The sealed fuel cap

1.) Not real-world conditions – The 300 km fuel economy run took place from midnight until dawn along the Subic-Clark-Tarlax Expressway (SCTEX) and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX). With virtually no other cars on the road, this allowed the convoy to maintain a certain level of pace and not be hampered by traffic. Perhaps the only realistic factor in the run was that all cars had to have their air-conditioning systems on all the time.

2.) 80 km/h top speed – Both gasoline- and diesel-powered cars were only permitted to run at a maximum speed of 80 km/h. Also, none of the cars were allowed to overtake one another.

Midnight Run of the DOE-Petron eco-run

3.) Brand fields own driver and navigator – At the helm of each car were a driver and navigator affiliated with the brand itself. Both have been briefed about the rules and regulations of the fuel economy run. However, each car also had an observer which monitored and ensured that the rules were followed.

The convoy going towards SCTEX

4.) Convoy Style – The gasoline-powered cars and diesel-driven vehicles were split into two convoys. First to depart was the gasoline convoy while the diesel convoy followed suit after a few minutes. All cars also had to follow the 3-second distance rule. It was implemented for safety reasons, as well as to deter drivers from 'drafting' behind other cars for better fuel mileage. But with a permitted top speed of only 80 km/h, drafting behind other vehicles would have no significant gain in fuel economy.

5.) Full to Full – To make the most out of the trip, all 70 vehicles had their fuel tanks filled up to the neck. The fuel cap was then placed with a safety seal to make sure the fuel level was not tampered with. Other sections of the car like the hood and trunk also had safety seals, ensuring that the engine, fuel tank and load capacity cannot be fiddled with. After finishing the 300 km fuel economy run, all of the cars had to top up again while the marshalls check each vehicle's fuel consumption.

The cars getting their tanks filled after the eco-run

In the end, did the fuel economy run realistically recreated real-world situations? Not exactly. As stated earlier, with very few cars on the road along with a controlled convoy, the test aimed to show which cars consumed less fuel under ideal conditions. It was more of a comparative test as to which car will yield the best results in terms of fuel efficiency.

According to the DOE and Petron, they will divide the total distance traveled to the quantity of fuel filled after the run to determine each car's fuel economy rating.

The lineup of diesel cars waiting their turn to get filled up

The DOE and Petron will release the full results of the Euro 4 Fuel Eco Run come June 14, 2016 and we will be waiting in earnest for each car's fuel economy rating.