Racing for the Right Reasons: The Return of the Vetter Fuel Economy Challenges

Reader Contribution by Staff
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This is your invitation to challenge me in fun rides to see who can consume the least fuel in real driving conditions 



More to be announced… 

History: Between 1980 and 1985, I hosted a series of Fuel Economy Contests to see what it took to consume the least amount of fuel in real driving conditions. The winners were streamlined, very small, with about 8-10 horsepower.  After 5 years, some of these pioneers were getting over 400 mpg.


Much has changed since then.  Our engines make more horsepower.  We burn more fuel per mile.   We expect more fuel to be available.  Is it reasonable to “expect more” when three out of four gallons of fuel we use in our vehicles is imported?

Some of the money we paid for fuel was used by people to destroy our buildings and kill us.  Maybe you knew of somebody that was murdered on 9-11. 

The money for terrorists comes from you and me. 

This is serious.

We are not without recourse. We can import and consume less petroleum. We can learn to live better on less energy.

How much better?  How much less fuel?  Nobody knows. We will find out.


Come challenge me. Ride with me, side-by-side for 150 miles at various event locations in America. You can expect me to ride the way I normally ride: With “jack-rabbit” starts and to accelerate up to the posted speed limit as rapidly as possible.  We will not be holding up traffic.  The winner will be the one who consumes the least fuel, in dollars and cents.  The goal is to encourage the development of real, practical vehicles, driven the way we actually ride.


Download Complete Rules 

Each Craig Vetter Fuel Challenge will be a little different because the conditions at each event will be different. Therefore, winning mileage will be different from Challenge to Challenge.  For example, the California Quail Rideis relatively slow because it takes us over a mountain  on tight, twisty roads.  The Ohio AMA Vintage Days will be limited to the Ohio 65 mph law and will be held in more of a rural setting.  Unique to Vintage Days, will be a special category for Vintage motorcycles:  pre-1964 bikes.  In addition, in the near future we are hopeful to announce a Challenge that will allow 4 wheelers to ride with us.


2011 Last Vetter Fairing                                                 1983 Rifle Fairing 

The “Last Vetter Fairing” is designed to carry groceries.  I am preparing a kit that will allow you to make your own. I call this the Last Vetter Fairing because it is the ultimate shape that meets the conditions of this Challenge.

One thing for sure:  We will have to be streamlined.  Streamlining is easy to say but hard to do.  You could begin with the winning Rifle streamlined body of the 1980-85 Vetter Contests.  It is still available.  But, it is too small and I don’t see how it could be modified to carry groceries. 

In the end, this Challenge is about consuming less fuel and living better as a result.  Our gluttony for imported fuel is causing great danger in our nation.  Our actions just may help to save the day.

Of course, this is also about challenging me, too.  I have spent years learning how to ride better on less fuel.  Lets see if you can do better.