Australian Couple Attempt to Break U.S. Hypermiling Record

Many drivers—particularly hybrid owners—are proud of their ability to squeeze a few extra miles per gallon out of their cars. Hypermilers take things a little more seriously, coasting into every stoplight and driving well below posted speed limits in the pursuit of maximizing their fuel economy. Helen and John Taylor of Melbourne, Australia have gone even further, turning hypermiling into their life’s work.

This summer the Taylors are in the United States, aiming to drive through all 48 contiguous states in a 9,600-mile trip. The pair (who in some ways might be considered hypermiling “purists” because they seem to prefer achieving hybrid-like fuel economy in non-hybrids rather than test the limits of battery-assisted cars,) will traverse the country in an unmodified 2011 Chevy Cruze Eco with a manual transmission.

During at least one stretch of the trip, the Taylors will attempt to travel 2,000 miles on a single tank of gas, achieving nearly 160 mpg over a segment that one might imagine will include a lot of downhill driving. Under normal conditions the couple estimate that they will be able to achieve a 23 percent increase in fuel economy simply by employing standard green driving techniques, like those they teach at their Melbourne-based Fuel Academy, which holds workshops around the world showing drivers how to cut their petroleum consumption.

Over the entirety of the trip, the Taylors will attempt to break their own U.S. record of 67 mpg, set in 2009 in a Volkswagen Jetta TDI. The Chevy Cruze Eco gets an EPA-estimated 42 mpg on the highway, while the 2009 Jetta TDI gets 41 mpg.

In 2008, the Taylors set the world record for diesel fuel economy when they circled the coast of Australia in a diesel-powered Peugeot 308 HDi 110 in 25 days, posting the American equivalent of 75.6 mpg on the trip. In 2006, the pair drove around the world, traveling 18,470 miles in 78 days and averaging more than 52 mpg.

The couple currently hold 88 hypermiling records and have taken on sponsorship from Shell Oil in their unrelenting pursuit of higher gas mileage. On Shell’s Smarter Driving website, fans can check in on the Taylors to monitor their progress. Currently, the couple are in the second week of their trip, passing through the northeast United States.


  • MrEnergyCzar

    I’m surprised an oil company would sponsor such a thing….it’s like a liquor company sponsoring AA meetings….

    MrEnergyCzar

  • priya rai

    Well, it is nothing strange. Just like how Bill Gates rips off millions of people but then give back a small sum of the money back as charity.

  • simon@syd

    I guess hybrids are actually at a disadvantage in this game – for most of the journey theyd actually just be carrying a battery, not getting anything from one. Go ozzie.

  • FamilyGuy

    I don’t get it. What’s the point of a pointless trip just to use as little as gas a possible?

    I have an idea. Stay home. Gas used: 0 gallons. Is that the goal or not?

    Plus, this sort of stuff borders on dangerous. Doing your own thing and not driving with the flow of traffic is not smart.

    Sure, I understand the idea of trying to get some extra MPG out of your car, but going well below the posted speed limit is a bad idea. It just causes traffic, people don’t know why you’re doing it.

    You drive on the road, you follow the rules of the road and be safe.

  • usbseawolf2000

    Oil companies get to claim you don’t need a hybrid and keep continue to drive the non-hybrid. Chances are that most people will not bother to become MPG extremist and continue to guzzle gas.

  • Charles

    The Chevy Cruze Eco manual gets really good highway MPGs. It is only beat by the Prius, Civic Hybrid, Insight and Passat Diesel for highway use (EPA sticker values). From an economic point of view it would be really hard to justify any car that beats the Cruze’s highway MPG for a person who drives mostly highway miles.

    My next car will most likely be a Prius V or C-Max, because I want the good city MPGs as well as highway. If my mix was 70% or more highway the Cruze would be in the running from a MPG point of view, but not from a cargo view.

  • DC

    I honestly puzzled by these people. What exactly is there message?

    That burning gas is ok as long as you do it in an ecologically senstive manner?

    That hopping in your car, adding to congestion, increasing pollution is neat, so long as your trying to break a record or in vague way trying to reduce the damage your doing?

    That it makes perfect sense to burn thousands of gallons of jet-fuel to bring them to amerika(and return to Aus), so they can tool around in a slightly more efficent gas-burner?

    If they really wanted to be efficent, they would have taken a ship,not a plane, and toured amerika via its efficent, affordable, state-of-the-art national rail system, and utilized the amazeing networks of electric trolleys and interurban rail to get around amerikas compact clean and walkable cities…..O wait a minute…

  • MrEnergyCzar

    You’re right. I never thought about it that way…

  • Albert Menduni

    I’ve read all the rather negative comments. I’d like to give a positive view of this couple’s pursuit. Most people do pointless and silly things for FUN, such as watching sports, or reality TV shows, or game shows. Please understand I completely support those viewing activities. This couple needs to take adequate precautions to avoid becoming traffic hazards. For example, they could drive through congested areas in the morning between 2 am and 5 am. Also I’m fairly sure they avoid the Interstates, and that they comply with minimum speed limits, by getting local permission and being followed by a fully illuminated chase car with warning of “Slow Traffic Ahead.” I also think that their exaggerated behavior promotes economical driving habits. Let them do what they seem to enjoy. BigAl

  • big al

    ^ it’s called ego..

    showing off about saving gas, while using gas is purely ego driven

    well, goes to show, some people caught on that these clowns are well.. just that

  • Chevy MT

    Do they also keep a tally of the number of people that get upset with their driving style?

    In all seriousness, though, it would be great to have a video demonstrating some of the driving tactics that they utilize in order to achieve these amazing numbers.

  • arizona taylor

    I see what you are saying about the trip being pointless, but it does show other people just how much money can be saved by hypermiling.

  • kerign

    The Chevy Cruze Eco gets an EPA-estimated 42 mpg on the highway, while the 2009 Jetta TDI gets 41 mpg. wheat flour packing machines

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