The MPG Marathon, now in its fourth year, aims to demonstrate how fuel-efficient cars, route planning technology and eco-friendly driving skills can help to manage the rising cost of fuel. This year, electric vehicles, alongside range extenders and plug-in hybrids, will take part for the first time in its history.

Held in the UK's picturesque Cotswolds, the MPG Marathon will take place on October 8 and 9. There have been several electric vehicle entrants already, including the Renault Zoe and a Nissan LEAF. Drivers will have to plan their recharging points carefully if they want to finish first in their class, as the route spans 360 miles (580 km) across the rugged terrain of the Brecon Beacons.

Entrants will be judged on a range of criteria, including how much power they consume over the course of the marathon. Electricity will be measured at 13 pence per kilowatt hour, while any carbon fuel that the petrol or diesel hybrid vehicles consume will also be taken into account.

All cars which take part in the event will be fitted with tracking equipment, so the organizers will know exactly where the vehicle is and how far it has traveled. The event also welcomes vans, with a Ford Fiesta Sport Van, Fiat Ducato Van and Ford Transit Custom taking part last year. Additionally, the event is open to fleet managers, representatives from fleet services, hiring and leasing services and motor industry specialists.

Last year's MPG Marathon attracted a host of celebrities, motoring journalists, academics and senior figures from the automotive industry. The bar is set high this year, after last year's winners, Nick Chapman and Rosemary Homer, achieved an amazing average of 88.69 mpg (31 km/L) driving the Ford Fiesta ECOnetic 1.6 diesel-engined Titanium model.

It's not the only eco-friendly driving marathon held in the UK, Shell also hosts an annual fuel economy competition with last year's winner averaging a whopping 9,737 mpg (3,347 km/L).

Source: MPG Marathon