• Sep 12th 2008 at 10:13AM
  • 16
Helen and John Taylor have reached the one-third mark of their nationwide trek to demonstrate how much impact driving behavior can have on fuel efficiency, and it's working. The Australian couple are well on their way to setting a new world record. After 2,753 miles and eight days of driving they are averaging 58.78 mpg (U.S.) in a new VW Jetta TDI. The Jetta is completely stock including the OEM tires and transmission. That nearly 59 mpg average is well above the 30/41 mpg EPA ratings for the Jetta TDI and includes time spent in bumper to bumper traffic in places like New York City.
The Taylors also prefer to be called fuel stretchers rather than hyper-milers. Unlike hyper-milers, they don't use tactics like drafting behind trucks or rolling through stop signs to avoid acceleration. Instead they focus on vehicle maintenance, tire pressure, avoiding idling and watching their speed. Judging by their performance so far, it's working. We'll be seeing the Taylors in California next week when they stop by during a media drive for the Jetta TDI. If you have any questions you'd like to ask the Taylors, leave them in the comments here.

[Source: Volkswagen]

The Taylor's are almost a third of the way toward breaking Guinness World Record
HERNDON, Va. – Two of the world's most fuel efficient drivers, John and Helen Taylor, are a third of the way through their attempt to break the current world record for lowest fuel consumption across the 48 contiguous United States. Today they will be driving into their ninth day, passing through the northern states of the Great Plains, including South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana. To help them along the way, they are driving the all-new, 50-state-compliant clean diesel Volkswagen Jetta TDI, fueled by Shell's best diesel fuel.
"The vehicle seating is extremely comfortable and the power point in the car enables lots of work en route to be done while preserving power," said Helen Taylor. "The car is efficiently driving its way to a fuel economy world record."
The current Guinness World Record for the lowest fuel consumption on a nationwide drive is 51.58 miles per gallon. As of end of day, Wednesday, Sept. 10, the Taylor's have driven more than 2,753 miles through more than 24 states averaging about 58.78 US miles per gallon.
"It has been quite an adventure thus far, the world is getting smaller -- on day four we met a girl originally from our small town in Australia now residing in Ohio!" said John Taylor. "We are optimistic we should be able to break the current world record if we stay on course and keep our fuel-efficient driving tips in mind."
People are encouraged to e-mail the Taylors along the way at: fuelacademy@gmail.com with any questions they may have about the tour, the vehicle or about fuel economy tips and join their "Fan" page on Facebook.com. As of yesterday, 805 people have e-mailed the Taylors. The most common question asked was if the Taylors would do a fuel economy clinic for them.
Approximately 12 official check-in and refueling stops across the country are included throughout the duration of the drive, which is slated to conclude Sept. 26 in W. Va. The couple will drive on a counter-clockwise route and plan to pass through these cities: Chantilly, Va.; Rutland, V.T.; Toledo, Ohio; Des Moines, Iowa; Spearfish, S.D.; Missoula, Mont.; Winnemucca, Nev.; Santa Monica, Calif.; Durango, Colo.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Mount Vernon, Ill.; Ponchatoula, La.; and, Beckley, W. Va. Some of the Shell FuelStretch tactics the Taylors will employ on the road include: avoiding idling and higher speeds, minimizing vehicle drag and performing regular vehicle maintenance.
The Taylors have made a 26-year career out of driving economically and conducting workshops globally on fuel-efficient driving techniques. They have collected 82 world fuel economy and vehicle-related 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 and www.media.vw.com. For a complete list of fuel-saving driving tips, visit http://www.shell.com/us/fuelstretch.
Volkswagen of America, Inc.
Volkswagen of America, Inc. recently announced Electronic Stability Program (ESP) as standard equipment on all its 2009 vehicles. As a result, Volkswagen is one of the only original equipment manufacturers to offer an electronic stability control system on their entire product line – ahead of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) deadline requiring vehicles in the 2012 model year to include stability control systems. Volkswagen's ESP technology works in conjunction with anti-lock brakes and helps reduce loss of control and rollovers to avoid crashes. NHTSA predicts nearly 10,000 lives could be saved each year if automakers included stability systems as standard equipment.
Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc. is headquartered in Herndon, Va. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen is one of the world's largest producers of passenger cars and Europe's largest automaker. Volkswagen sells the Rabbit, New Beetle, New Beetle convertible, GTI, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, GLI, Passat, Passat Wagon, Eos, Tiguan and Touareg through approximately 600 independent U.S. dealers. Visit Volkswagen of America online at vw.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hey, almost 59 mpg is nearly spectacular when you consider that they are spending hours driving thru huge, crowded cities that they are unfamiliar with. The VW doesn't have automatic motor shutdown, and most cities are still extremely hot, so the AC is running constantly.

      They must be getting about 65 mpg on the open road- very very good.

      Oh, guess I should proof read, I meant "aren't" not are in my 1st comment.

      • 7 Years Ago
      damn taylors, bunch of haters stop trying to steal the spotlight i'd smash your 60 mpg score anyday with my salvage prius. GO HOME stop wasting fuel driving around teaching the same crap that can be found online without burning all that diesel.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I took advantage of the email address to send the Taylors a note. I pointed out to them that "hypermiling" in the US means to beat the EPA numbers. That's all it means. By that definition, the Taylors are hypermilers. Bashing other hypermilers is bad form.

      The negative definition of hypermiling is something the AAA invented and is perpetuating. The AAA is flat wrong about hypermiling, and I call them out on that.

      My last trip in my Prius got 57.5 mpg with mild hypermiling. The EPA says the Prius is only good for 46 mpg highway, and I exceeded that by more than 10 mpg, making me a hypermiler. I did nothing dangerous to do that, broke no laws, and scared no one, including myself.

      Stop bashing hypermilers. Use the term correctly, in its original meaning, not one invented by AAA.

      • 7 Years Ago
      Not terrible, but I would expect them to be at least breaking 60mpg. How many miles does the engine have on it though? The TDI engines are known to put out much better FE as they age, with a lot of people claiming 30k+ miles on the odo before their FE gains finally plateaued off.

      Should be interesting to see where this couple ends up at... as far as MPG is concerned of course.
      • 7 Years Ago
      How long before fuel-stretchers gets a negative connotation like hyper-miler has...
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hey everybody, let's all burn a huge amount of fuel to show how little fuel we can burn.

      What could be more logical?

      I buy about 10 tank-fulls of gas a year, so I'm kicking these guys' asses.
      • 7 Years Ago
      An average of 110 Americans are killed daily on our roads...by drunks, druggies, SPEEDERS, ragers, the distracted....I have yet to hear from the people screaming about even one death caused by hypermiling ever.

      About a week before the Taylor's distanced themselves from hypermiling (they did not have a problem with The Age calling them such), I defined it as doing much of what they do and sent a link of a Dallas Morning News story in July when a reporter rode along....I was doing 50 in a 60, not drafting, rolling stops, breaking laws. So think this thru logically - I drive similar to the Taylors, yet I'm a dangerous illegal hypermiler, but they are not...this really sounds like posturing - political.

      More honest and less smearing please.
      • 7 Years Ago
      58 mpg is very good -congratulations. A spark motored hybrid - the Prius or the Honda Civic - would have to get about 48 mpg to match that fuel economy because of the diesel price premium.

      You might want to check the most notable hypermiling site. The powers that be on that site are very, very antidrafting ,and very anti "rolling stop thru stop signs". If you visit there and put "drafting or draft " in your thread , you will immediately be deluged by stern warnings about drafting. Heck , if you mention that you have a drafty house you might get s stern warning. Same story about ignoring stop signs. The main hypermiling site pushes Pulse and gliding, devotion to tire pressure, and shutting the motor off at stop lights. Of course, there are more advanced techniques , but drafting and running stop signs are among them.

      Great mpg!


      • 7 Years Ago
      Next time, I hope they reach out the biodiesel industry for sponsorship instead of Shell. A drive like this on B100 would have been fantastic for the industry - especially since VW likes to say that anything greater than B5 voids the warranty (not true, but still makes an impact).
      • 7 Years Ago
      Anyone who drafts trucks on the highway and rolls through stop signs should have a negative connotation. It's all well and good to save gas, but not at the risk to other drivers.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hypermiling is defined as operating a vehicle to exceed EPA ratings, so the Taylors are, in fact, hypermilers, since they are handily beating the EPA numbers.

      Notably absent from the definition is any mention of specific technique. Nowhere does the definition say what techniques are encouraged, discouraged, allowed, disallowed, or define "hypermiling" in contrast to similar terms, because what techniques are used or available depend greatly on the car, the driver, the commute, and traffic at any given moment.

      Even the most ardent and extreme hypermiler recognizes that safety and legality come before efficiency, and that situational awareness and knowing when not to apply certain techniques are key.

      Drafting is discouraged to the point of being banned, yet it is an important part of the discussion because, since drafting is dependent on the actions of others, it is possible to do it unintentionally, and it's important to be able to recognize and deal with it.

      Painting hypermiling as the Taylors and this article have done is disingenuous at best and dangerously libelous at worst.
      • 7 Years Ago
      58 mpg is supposed to be good? On open roads, most of it so far in the flat parts of the country, in the summer? Sorry, but I've AVERAGED over 70 mpg for the last 5 years/80K miles, doing most of my driving in the Sierra Nevada, at times crossing 8500 ft passes in snowstorms...
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