• Sep 3rd 2008 at 11:02AM
  • 9
We've written about the exploits of Helen and John Taylor on several previous occasions. The pair like to get into cars and see how far they can drive between fill-ups. Their most recent adventure took them around Australia in a Peugeot 308 with an average of 75.6 mpg (U.S.). Today, they are setting off from Chantilly, VA on trek intended to carry them through all 48 contiguous states. The 8,000 mile trip is expected to take three weeks and only include 12 (!) refueling stops. They are hoping to beat the current world record for a cross trip of 51.8 mpg. The pair already set a world record driving around the world in 24 tanks of fuel in a VW Golf in 2006 and this time around they will be driving one of the new 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDIs. The trip will take Taylors counter clockwise around the country using the usual array of efficient driving tactics including not idling or speeding and minimizing drag.
[Source: Volkswagen]

2009 Jetta TDI clean diesel selected as vehicle of choice
HERNDON, Va.-Two of the world's most fuel-efficient drivers, John and Helen Taylor, will embark today on the "Taylors' Diesel Inspiration" tour-an attempt to break the current world record for lowest fuel consumption on a drive across the 48 contiguous United States. To help meet this goal, the Taylors will be behind the wheel of an all-new, 50-state-compliant clean diesel Volkswagen Jetta TDI employing simple "FuelStretch" fuel-saving driving tips they developed with Shell.
The Taylors are an Australian husband and wife team who set a Guinness World Record for driving around the globe on 24 tanks of fuel behind the wheel of a Volkswagen Golf in 2006, and as always, Guinness World Records rules and regulations will be strictly adhered to on this challenge. Approximately 12 official check-in and refueling stops across the country are included throughout the duration of the drive, which is slated to conclude September 26 in W. Va. The current world record for the lowest fuel consumption on a nationwide drive is 51.8 miles per gallon.
"It will be a great challenge and adventure to drive through the 48 U.S. mainland states," said Helen Taylor. "We want to educate the American public that by choosing the right car, using the right fuel and adopting fuel-saving driving techniques, everyone in the U.S. can save money, fuel and reduce carbon emissions."
Kicking off their more than 8,000-mile drive at a Shell station in Chantilly, Va. followed by a "flag-off" ceremony at the Volkswagen of America, Inc. headquarters in nearby Herndon, Va., the Taylors are setting out on this challenge in their vehicle of choice-Volkswagen's all-new clean diesel Jetta TDI-powered by the fuel of their choice-Shell Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel.
"We're thrilled that the Taylors have chosen our all-new clean diesel Jetta TDI in their attempt at setting a new Guinness World Record for lowest fuel consumption," said Stefan Jacoby, CEO/President, Volkswagen of America, Inc. "We believe our Jetta TDIs truly offer a no- compromise alternative fuel driving experience that provides our customers the best of both worlds-excellent fuel efficiency combined with a dynamic driving experience. We're excited to see the tremendous fuel efficiency that the Taylors will get as they set a new world record. We wish the Taylors the best of luck and a safe journey," added Jacoby. It's just good clean diesel fun.
Volkswagen has more than 30 years of experience selling diesel passenger cars in the United States, and they're the first manufacturer to market with an affordable 50-state compliant clean diesel passenger vehicle that meets the strictest emission standards of California and the world.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates the Jetta TDI at an economical 29 miles per gallon city and 40 miles per gallon highway. Volkswagen went a step further to evaluate the real-world fuel economy of the Jetta TDI.
Leading third-party certifier, AMCI, tested the Jetta TDI and found it performed 24 percent better in real world conditions, achieving 38 miles per gallon in the city and 44 miles per gallon on the highway.* Using fuel-saving driving techniques and vehicle maintenance tips from Shell, the Taylors hope to push their fuel efficiency even further.
The couple will drive on a counter-clockwise route including stops in Va., Vt., Ohio, Iowa, S.D., Mont., Nev., Calif., Colo., Okla., Ill., La. and W. Va. Some of the fuel-maximizing tactics the Taylors will employ on the road include actions such as avoiding idling and higher speeds, minimizing vehicle drag and performing regular vehicle maintenance.
"With everyone focused on stretching their fuel dollars, the Taylors' world record-breaking attempt will demonstrate to American drivers that a little modification to vehicle maintenance and driving habits can help maximize fuel economy," said Jens Mueller-Belau, U.S. Retail Fuels Marketing, Shell Oil Products U.S. "Like the Taylors, we have a passion for fuel economy, and we're glad both Shell fuel and "FuelStretch" tips will power this exciting event."
The Taylors have made a 26-year career out of driving economically and conducting workshops globally on fuel-efficient driving techniques. Along the way, they have collected 36 world fuel economy world records from drives around the globe in Australia, Asia, South Africa, Europe, the Middle East and North America.
Via their Web site, the Taylors will be sharing their personal experiences on the road. For more information and regular reports from the road, visit www.fuelacademy.com. For a complete list of fuel-saving driving tips, visit http://www.shell.com/us/fuelstretch.
Link to Webcast of Volkswagen headquarters kick-off event: http://easylink.playstream.com/winlive/netcaster1.wvx
Link to information on the Taylors' 2006 Guinness World Record for Fuel Efficiency:
*29 city / 40 highway EPA estimates; 38 city / 44 highway real-world fuel economy based on AMCI testing. Actual mileage may vary. For more information on Volkswagen, go to www.vw.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      If it raises awareness, it is a good thing.
      People need to wake up to the huge difference between the fuel economy that the average American achieves and what is possible with today's technology.

      If this stunt encourages just a few people to buy a more economical car, or drive in a more economical fashion, it will save a lot more fuel than it consumes.

      Besides, what is more wasteful, driving very very economically for fun, or going to the golf course in an SUV?
      • 7 Years Ago
      My first impression on this is that it is driving for the sake of driving. Therefore it's wasteful and in no way green.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I really have a dislike for the hyper-milers. It is alright if they do it in a safe way, but one almost got me killed. I was riding my motorcycle on a back road with a 55 mph limit and came around a turn and there was a row of traffic. A hyper-miler was doing 12 mph in a 55. Sure enough a car coming around the turn doing the speed limit had to slam on their brakes to avoid running over me. Hyper-milers are way to dangerous for the roads!
        • 7 Years Ago
        Unless you're being facetious, then that was not a hyper-miler. The optimal speed for fuel economy for most vehicles is probably around 55mph, at least it is a lot closer to 55 than to 12mph, at which speed most of the gas you burn is just going into keeping the engine turning over. I would guess it was someone with engine trouble... or limping home on a flat.
      • 7 Years Ago
      They were wearing Shell logos because Shell was one of the sponsors and obviously provided expenses for fuel in return for some great PR. (also sponsored by VW and Navman)

      That aside, their trip has been completed and they succeeded in their goal, see: http://www.mpgomatic.com/2008/09/28/vw-jetta-tdi-sets-new-world-record-5882-mpg/
      • 7 Years Ago
      I can beat that....don't do it...imagine all the fuel you would save. Driving to save fuel seems a bit odd to me and this is showing an extreme case of waste.
      • 7 Years Ago
      They need to make laws that address "hyper-miler" practices. They are dangerous and should just buy a Prius and get over themselves. The damage that they are doing to their cars, not to mention the increased insurance premiums that we all pay, has to certainly cut into the savings they achieve from fuel economy. AND you can't put a value on the lives of the innocent people they endanger with their HYPER-RECKLESSNESS.
      • 7 Years Ago
      There isn't a single redeeming thing about hyper-milers. They are rolling road-blocks. I nearly ran into one on a winding, hilly two lane in PA. Cresting a hill there he was, doing 35 in a 55 zone. At least the Amish put orange triangles on their buggys so you know he's going slowly. Mr. Hyper-miler should use his 4-ways if he's running below that far below the limit.
      • 7 Years Ago
      They are wearing Shell patches on their shirt and standing in a way that conspicuously displays the patches, so I'm guessing the environment is not what matters here. Perhaps they can hunt some moose on their trip.
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