Volkswagen Passat sets world record for longest distance on one tank of clean diesel fuel

May 11, 2012

The world's most fuel-efficient couple has done it again. John and Helen Taylor were determined to break the record for the farthest distance traveled on a single tank of fuel. They decided to attempt the record in the U.S. with a stock 2012 Volkswagen Passat SE TDI Clean Diesel vehicle equipped with a six-speed manual transmission. The previous record for the most miles covered on a single tank of diesel was 1526.6 miles, achieved with a VW Passat 1.6 BlueMotion diesel in Europe.

The result? A new record of 1626.1 miles, achieved on one tank of ultra-low sulfur diesel under real world driving conditions. That's an incredible 99.5 miles better than the old mark. Over the course of three days and driving through nine states, the couple averaged 84.1 miles per gallon, spending only 4.65 cents per mile. The three-day drive commenced on May 3, 2012 in Houston, TX and ended on May 5, 2012 in Sterling, Virginia. To make the drive as realistic as possible, the couple included 120 pounds of luggage and drove during daylight hours to experience normal traffic situations. Additionally, the couple took turns driving and didn't travel more than 14 hours per day.

"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 ."

The Passat's 2.0-liter TDI Clean Diesel inline four-cylinder engine produces 140 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque and with a manual transmission delivers an EPA estimated rating of 43 mpg on the highway. The TDI engine is equipped with a Selective Catalytic Reduction System (SCR) that fulfills emissions requirements in all 50 states. The Passat -- built at the world's only LEED Platinum certified automotive factory in Chattanooga, TN -- was named Motor Trend's 2012 Car of the Year.

Prior to the drive, the speedometer and odometer were calibrated by a state certified testing station in Houston, Texas. Law enforcement officers from the city of Houston, Texas oversaw validation of mileage, fuel fill-up, and gas tank sealing at the beginning of the drive. A Loudoun County, Virginia Sheriff's Deputy verified completion of the drive and mileage prior to removing the fuel tank seal.

The Taylors have made a career out of driving efficiently and conducting workshops globally on fuel-efficient driving techniques. They have collected more than 90 world fuel economy and vehicle-related records from drives around the globe.

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User comments : 10

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Scottingham
5 / 5 (1) May 11, 2012
I'd hate to be behind them getting on the highway
DavidW
1 / 5 (2) May 11, 2012
You won't be any better or worse than them if you do hate, so why hate?
kaasinees
4.2 / 5 (5) May 11, 2012
I am more fuel-efficient than this couple.
I dont drive.
SDrapak
1 / 5 (1) May 11, 2012
Shouldn't the size of the fuel tank have something to do with it? Yes it's stock, but there's lots of different sized tanks. A record for MPG would be more meaningful.
simplicio
5 / 5 (1) May 11, 2012
Shouldn't the size of the fuel tank have something to do with it? Yes it's stock, but there's lots of different sized tanks. A record for MPG would be more meaningful.

What is difference the tank size makes? They averaged 84.1 mpg, which is measure seperate from size of tank.
stripeless_zebra
not rated yet May 11, 2012
I've been driving VW TDIs for over 2 decades. My average mileage on my latest TDI Clean Diesel is around 42MPG. The best ever recorded 55MPG. My 2010 TDI has the same engine with the DSG 6-speed tranny. When driving at constant 40mph, 0mph wind I can get around 90-100MPG and this is how they achieved this. Below that speed the mileage actually gets worse.

The Passat has a 19.3 gal. tank size.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet May 12, 2012
What is difference the tank size makes?

A larger tank is heavier. Having a lot of fuel on board at the beginning drops your MPG.

But from the numbers given in the article they started off with a regular tank full of gas for a Passat (bit more than 19 gallons)
Eikka
not rated yet May 12, 2012
What is difference the tank size makes?

A larger tank is heavier. Having a lot of fuel on board at the beginning drops your MPG.


The difference in a car that weighs over a metric ton is quite neglible. A full tank of fuel weighs less than 5% of the whole weight of the car.
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (1) May 12, 2012
The difference in a car that weighs over a metric ton is quite neglible.

Tell that to formula 1 drivers.

There's a reason why we can't simply extend the range of EVs by packing in more batteries (or get more liftoff capacity for rockets by packing on more rocket fuel if you want to go to an extreme)

It's not just for a lark that you're supposed to get rid off all the unneccessary junk in the trunk of your car.
stripeless_zebra
5 / 5 (1) May 13, 2012
What is difference the tank size makes?

A larger tank is heavier. Having a lot of fuel on board at the beginning drops your MPG.


The difference in a car that weighs over a metric ton is quite neglible. A full tank of fuel weighs less than 5% of the whole weight of the car.


Based on my experience with this engine, a full or almost empty tank shows no difference in MPG numbers. My 2010 Golf Wagon TDI has an MPG display.

The key to their success is the driving strategy.

This car has to stay around 40 mph whenever possible that is the most economical speed with 90-100MPG fuel consumption. The brake pedal has to avoided at all cost, acceleration from 0 to 40mph has to take forever. Driving like that, everybody can set a world record on this car.

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