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?

Volkswagen