Mechanical engineering students at RPI have abandoned development of a car that runs on maple syrup. This comes after word from the Vermont Maple Association that syrup prices have topped $40 a gallon. A spokesman for the association attributed the increased price to rising fuel and labor costs.
A prototype vehicle using a syrup powered engine was recently tested in the university’s maintenance fleet. Third year engineering student Dan O’Connor is among those who worked on the project. “I’m sorry we had to pull the plug on this,” said O’Connor. “When we drove across campus, it smelled like breakfast.”
Department Chairman Dr. Timothy Wei said that difficult choices are part of the research process. “It’s crucial that we develop engines that run on renewable, sustainable fuels. But at $40 a gallon, maple syrup may not be the alternative we’re looking for.”