Hypermilers are an interesting bunch. You know the ones; they draft behind tractor trailers, coast to stops, take more right turns, etc. In other words, completely annoying when you have to get somewhere in a hurry. When gas prices get high though you think hey maybe there is a little something to this (no, not really…). Anyhow, Volkswagen is trumpeting a new record made in the Passat TDI by John and Helen Taylor.
They achieved an astonishing 84.1 (by VW’s calculations) mpg on the trip. They covered 1,626.1 miles on just one tank of gas, traveling from Houston, Texas to Sterling, Virginia. Wow, we’d like to be getting that kind of mileage right about now. The trip took three days. The Taylors have a website called Fuel Academy, and over the the years they logged more than 90 fuel economy and vehicle-related records.
They also teach classes with the aim of training drivers to drive more efficiently. VW is aiming to highlight real-life stories about its cars, such as the 500,000 mile Jetta that was torn apart recently by VW engineers. We wouldn’t be surprised to see more of these things happen in the future. The EPA numbers on the Passat are very impressive. 43 MPG for a large sedan like the Passat is an attractive proposition. We wouldn’t be surprised to see sales of the TDI shoot up if gas prices remain this way.
The U.S buying public has always been reluctant to diesels; blame the old Mercedes turbo diesels of the 1970s and 1980s for creating a bad image. Sentiment may be changing though; even General Motors is launching a Cruze diesel. A heavy advertising campaign is expected to go along with it that will aim to educate people about modern diesel engines. We’ll see how it works – things change when gas gets above $4 a gallon. If you’re interested,has a whole gallery of images that includes exhaustive documentation of the trip.