VW Diesel Sets World Distance Record For Single Tank of Fuel

A stock 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI SE has just topped the previous world driving distance record for a single tank of fuel with an average 84.1 mpg covering 1,626.1 miles.

Using ultra-low sulfur fuel, the six-speed manual was driven May 3 to May 5 by “mileage experts” John and Helen Taylor from Houston, Texas to Sterling, Virginia and their record topped by 99.5 miles the previous European record of 1,526.6 miles held by a 1.6 BlueMotion Passat.

“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.”

Adding 120 pounds to the vehicle to create normal driving conditions, VW said the couple took turns at the wheel, never driving more than 14 hours in a day.

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

“The Passat was engineered and designed to be a comfortable yet fun to drive alternative in the midsize segment. The TDI Clean Diesel version unites driving dynamics and fuel efficiency that isn’t found in the competitive set,” said Rainer Michel, Vice President of Product Strategy, Volkswagen of America, Inc. “We’re honored that the Taylors chose the 2012 Passat TDI as the vehicle to set this outstanding distance record. Their record shows just how economical the Passat TDI can be in the right hands.”

The watchword here is probably “in the right hands.” The Taylors reportedly make their living teaching efficient driving workshops, and hold over 90 such fuel economy records around the world.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Passat’s 2.0-liter TDI Clean Diesel – rated at 140 horsepower, 236 pound-feet of torque – has a fuel economy rating of 43 mpg on the highway.

So, getting 84.1 mpg for an entire tank “under real world driving conditions,” is quite a feat, isn’t it?


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  • Duude

    I wonder if piggybacking on a railroad flat car is one of their efficiency tips. LOL Really, I would like to know how to squeeze out more miles a tank.

  • Capt. Concernicus

    I can do average better mpg in my Prius. 😉 Unfortunately my gas tank isn’t big enough, so I don’t think I could cover as much distance.

    But I’d be interested in the route they took and all other driving conditions.

  • perfectapproach

    1) High gear, low RPM
    2) No fast take-offs (from a stop)
    3) Drafting, when possible

    Essentially, the idea is to get the car moving, and let the engine idle RPM maintain the speed of the car. This would have to be a purpose-driven task; I doubt you could nurse 84 mpg out of normal, daily driving with just a diesel engine. Would be possible with long stretches of less-than-highway speeds though, or with stop-start technology. Not sure how well diesels can handle stop-start though.

  • MrEnergyCzar

    They are elite hypermilers…. the Michael Jordan of hypermilers.. Think full glass of water sitting on their dashboard without spilling a drop elite…. Their skills are so refined they probably don’t even draft 18 wheelers…


  • Old Man Crowder

    Sooo…. they drove 1626.1 miles for what, again? No particular reason other than to prove that it could be done?

    I’m just not excited about driving for the sake of driving. You’re just consuming fuel for fun. And a pair of snazzy t-shirts, I guess.

  • Robert Melanson

    Well i have a 2011 vw golf tdi and i would love to get more mpg out of it. granted i have a cold air intake which probably doesnt help. but i still pull 600+ out of 14 gallons which i think is still pretty impressive. just goes to show that turbo diesel is the way of the future for not only better overall vehicles but for going green also.

  • LessPompusBrain

    Because somebody had to do it first, and make people aware before thick headed people like you got your big fat ass of that gas guzzling monstrosity of a pickup truck, and thought about fuel economy. That is why Mr Crowder! Do yo GET IT NOW!

  • LessPompus

    Somebody had to do it, so thick headed people could learn from them and get their bloated fat asses of their fuel guzzling pickup truck. You GET IT NOW!

  • LessPompus

    Somebody had to do it, so thick headed people could learn from them and get their bloated fat asses of their fuel guzzling pickup truck. You GET IT NOW!

  • Al Bunzel

    Imagine if you installed the plug-in and extra batteries kit from http://nilco2.com.au/ into your Prius. You won’t need to worry about a big tank. You might even be able to do the trip without visiting a gas station.

  • Anonymous

    Sure but who wants to drive a Prius more than 50 miles