By Tuan Nguyen
Posting in Cities
A couple uses hypermiling techniques to travel halfway across the country without having to refuel.
One couple is proving time and time again how fuel efficiency has just as much to do with the person behind the wheel as the technology under the hood.
With just a full tank of gas, John and Helen Taylor of Australia was able to rack up a world record 1,626 miles, driving from Houston, Texas to Sterling, Virginia. After all was said and done, the trip took three days and traversed through nine states at an average rate of 84.1 miles per gallon, which translates to a cost of a mere 4.65 cents per mile. The previous record was 1526.6 miles, achieved with a VW Passat 1.6 BlueMotion(R) diesel in Europe.
The couple accomplished the feat using an unmodified 2012 4 cylinder, 2.0 liter Volkswagen Passat Clean Diesel with six speed manual transmission. On paper, the car has an official city driving fuel efficiency rating of 43 mpg.
"We're excited to have broken the record for the longest distance driven on one-tank of fuel," said John Taylor. "The Passat TDI was the perfect car for the trip. It offers plenty of interior and cargo space, yet is frugal enough to help us achieve this record."
Still, those who are familiar with the Taylors aren't the least bit surprised. Since 1982, they've set over 40 fuel efficiency records, earning them the title of world's most fuel efficient couple. In an interview with the Chattanooga Times Free Press, they shared some of their hypermiling techniques that enabled them to travel across half of the country without having to refuel:
They said they carefully planned the route, traveling from Houston to Jacksonville, Fla., and then to Virginia using interstate highways over three days. They tried to keep the car in sixth gear when possible.
Also, they said they drove about 5 miles per hour below the speed limit in the Passat TDI featuring a 2.0-liter four cylinder engine running on ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel.
“We’d sit on 60,” John Taylor said. “Reducing speed saved 23 percent in fuel.”
They also said they kept the car’s tire pressure at the proper mark, drove smoothly and consistently and idled as little as possible. They only used air conditioning on two occasions.
The couple added that they carried 120 pounds of luggage and drove during the daylight hours and didn’t travel more than 14 hours a day.
While all of this is obviously boast-worthy press material for Volkswagon, it also speaks to the importance of responsible driving. So often we put the impetus for solutions on engineers, CEOs and other conjurers of high tech solutions. Although much of that is a work-in-progress, innovation can sometimes start with changing the things we do and doing it better.
The latest fuel efficiency breakthroughs:
- Breakthrough could lead to 732-mile electric car battery
- Is this 400-mile electric car battery for real?
- New engine radically improves fuel economy, cuts emissions
- Gas-powered diesel engine may double fuel efficiency
- New 9-speed auto transmission is a real gas saver
- ‘Supertruck’ big rig design doubles fuel efficiency
Smart solutions for rising gas prices:
- Breakthrough may lead to 'limitless' supply of hydrogen fuel
- New electric car 2x more fuel efficient than Nissan Leaf
- Ford's powerful mini-motor saves fuel, cuts emissions
- New smartphone innovations may improve driving smarts
May 10, 2012
It was great news to read that the coupe has set up a new record of traveling 1,626 miles in a tank of gas, I like reading it. http://www.tyre-shopper.co.uk/tyres/winter
As some have mentioned - drving style is the key. It is the chief means I achieve under 6.0 litres pre 100 km (over 40 mpg US or about 50 mpg Imp) in my regular suburban commute (which is a stop start 15km run). Two main tricks: when approaching a traffic light, whatch the lights from a distance. Youi can often gauge when the change is due. If it is likely to go red before you get there - take the foot off, and coast. I have learned to judge the coasting distance of my car to a stop from most typical speeds. Another trick is to know a few routes, and change the route based on the traffic lights - if I am approaching a red, I can often turn right (North American laws) so as not to stop and idle at the light, instead of waiting at and then going straight only to turn right later. The other key factor is to accelerate gently. In order not to be annoying, I make sure to start immediately on the change of lights - which gives me a half second head start on the lead footed drivers behind and beside me. I accelerate more gently, but I don't look like a sluggard. Anticipation also works by letting me change lanes far ahead of obstacles such as works vehicles parked in my lane, or vehicles slowing for a left turn. If I wait until I am upon these obstacles, I will be stuck waiting for a gap to ease around them. With anticipation, I can change lanes while still flowing with the traffic. As well as fuel savings, I believe that these practices all make me a safer driver (unlike mucking around with tire pressure, and switching off the engine).
My humorous attempt to help people improve their fuel consumption is at http://www.conservect.org/energy/Conservation/GasPriceProtest/tabid/605/Default.aspx (scroll down to the top ten). Comments, suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org are welcome.
The driver is a large determining factor. This is why the woman who sued over low mpg doesn't really have a case. I get substantialy better mpg than another member of my family, driving the same vehicle. In the old days, there was this thing called the Mobil Economy Run. The secret, besides over-inflating your tires by a few psi, was "driving as if there was a raw egg between your foot and the accelerator pedal." coasting, keeping highway speeds down, etc.
I can't do that well on a moped. Diesel 4 cylinder + 6 speed manual = great efficiency. I would like to see how she does burning waste cooking oil!
The Passat is a great car for super-sized US expectations, but many Europeans drive smaller even more efficient VW diesels http://www.nextgreencar.com/view-car/26041/VW-Polo-Diesel-Manual-5-speed Compare that to the Mini Cooper in US trim: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/noframes/31638.shtml 83 vs 32 I don't care how pretty those Cooper wheels are...
In particular: "...John and Helen Taylor of Australia was able..." Should be "...John and Helen Taylor of Australia were able..." and "Volkswagon" should always be "Volkswagen."
Please give all the details so we can increase our MPG also. I can get as much as 469 miles on a tank with our Toyota Yaris gas automatic: When I see the traffic light turn red in the distance, I shut the engine off and coast to a stop (but I must keep the ignition "ON" so the electronic odometer continues registering the miles). And I never run the AC. I keep the tires one or two psi higher than the specified 32 psi.
This article makes it clear that we need to get the EURO versions sold in the USA... What are we waiting for $6 a gallon gasoline and diesel fuel?
The driver of the car actually does more in this than most realize. I keep my speeds at or near 55 most of the time on the highway. You have to watch all the time for opportunity to increase speed without using fuel and when the opportunity arises you need to take it, then let that speed carry you up the next hill. I regularly get 60mpg out of my Prius by very careful driving. I wish more would try it this would send a clear message to the fuel companies.
I have a Skoda Octavia with a similar TDI engine, but it is very difficult to drive as efficiently as they did. I will establish my own record sometime. Depending on road conditions I have got, so far, as much as 56 mpg on a trip. My mean driving performance is 42 mpg. The car has a 6 speed DSG transmission which allows for automatic AND manual driving. But driving strategy plays an important role.
A tall 6th gear can go a long way to improve MPG if you know how to drive. In a car with a 24 mpg hwy EPA score, on long highway trips I get 45 mpg with my 4 speed automatic. 30 mpg with a 75/25 mix of hwy/city driving on a daily basis.
Well spotted P.F.Bruns! Should we correct pronunciation too? It's not Volks Wagon, it's Folks Vargen. Germans pronounce their V as our F and their W as our V. As for using the singular form of a verb for a plural subject, that's rife these days, even among journalists who, as writing English is their profession, should at least know the rudiments of English grammar. At least there are a few of us left who can spot these errors.
Shouldn't the headline read "Volkswagen car goes 1,626 miles on a tank of FUEL" (emphasis added) ? If its a diesel, it does not use gas!
I have a toyota (different model) and if I turn off the ignition the brakes dont work very well - be careful ! (Reply to "Tell Us The Details So We Can Do It Also!")
Shutting off your engine and drifting into traffic as you described is dangerous unless your car is designed to do it automatically. I applaud their efforts, but I hope these people are not road hazards as well with their driving habits. Groit hit on a good hyper mile tactic. Traffic and road conditions permitting, waiting until a downhill grade to accelerate is an easy one. My commute route allows me to gently accelerate to around 55 on my only onramp which is a slight downhill slope. After that there is an uphill grade for about 2 miles before it levels out and another mile later is starts a downhill grade. If traffic safety permits I'll hold 55 until I get to the hill and accelerate to 65 on the down slope. Doing less than 65 in good weather conditions can be dangerous on that highway and I will gently accelerate on the hill rather than get rear ended. A few mpg is not worth some ones life. A good week is when I can do that every day. I can see a 2 or 3 mpg boost if all else in my driving is equal. A lead foot is a killer of mpg.
I can't speak for the rest of Europe but here in the UK at one of the cheaper petrol stations, we're paying 1.36 GBP (why isn't the English pound symbol recognised on this site?) per litre and that translates at the current GBP/$ exchange rate into $7.80 per US gallon. So that's why we (well some of us, anyway) are mpg aware! What I don't understand is that in the 60s, most American cars were huge gas guzzlers then came fuel awareness, probably caused by rising prices and many Americans started driving more economical vehicles; recently it's gone the other way with many people (and here in the UK) once again driving gas guzzlers in the shape of huge 4x4 SUVs. Why? (sorry but I don't have an answer). I'm commenting on the USA because I'm replying to a USA commenter and I have a certain familiarity with the USA as I've been spending a month there every year since 1999.
When you see new cars and trucks that get 5 mpg AND 20 horsepower more than last years model you know they could have flat lined the horsepower and gained a few more mgp.
I get 55 mpg (that's per UK gallon*) from my 22 year old Toyota Corolla on a long journey (my definition of long in the UK is "more than 200 miles"). On 2 occasions I did precise mpg tests, both on journeys of about 220 miles but to different destinations. 55.7 on one trip and 55.6 on the other. In both cases I drive as described by Groit. As an example of how speed affects fuel consumption, in a car I owned from 1983 to 1995 I did one of the trips mentioned above first at slightly above the speed limit and got 26 mpg then on the return trip I took it easy doing 55-60 mph most of the way and got 36 to the gallon. That's a 38% improvement. In Milton Keynes, UK, where I live and do much of my driving, the place is renowned for its roundabouts (over 300 at my last count). To optimise fuel economy I ease off as I approach a roundabout and watch the traffic on or coming onto the rooundabout so that as I reach it, my speed matches that of those already on the roundabout and I have a smooth drive without needing to use the brakes or hard acceleration. I repeatedly encounter other drivers who overtake me, brake hard as they reach the roundabout, often having to stop to give way to traffic on the roundabout. I sail past them and am halfway to the next roundabout before they pass me again and the same behaviour is repeated roundabout after roundabout. They are either stupid ar unobservant as I make exactly the same rate of progress as they do. Today I was overtaken by a Porsche a mere 100 yards from a stationary queue - a complete failure to 'read' the road and traffic conditions ahead by the Porsche driver. Yes, technology is a great help but good mpg is also in large part due to the driver. * 1 UK gallon = 1.25 x 1 US gallon
No power brakes. No power steering. No air conditioning (Important if you live in desert climates in the summer.)