2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI Sets Guinness Fuel Economy Record | Edmunds

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI Sets Guinness Fuel Economy Record

Just the Facts:
  • A 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI has set a Guinness World Record for fuel economy.
  • The Passat averaged 77.99 mpg on a trip through all 48 contiguous U.S. states.
  • The EPA rates the Passat TDI at 43 mpg on the highway.

HERNDON, Virginia — A 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI Clean Diesel set a Guinness World Record for "lowest fuel consumption — 48 U.S. states for a non-hybrid car" at 77.99 mpg, surpassing the 2009 record of 67.9 mpg in that category, also held by a Passat TDI.

To set the record, co-drivers Wayne Gerdes and Bob Winger drove through all 48 contiguous states, covering 8,122 miles in just over two weeks. They departed from Volkswagen's Virginia headquarters on Friday, June 7, traveled in a roughly clockwise direction, and returned on Monday, the 24th.

"We felt we had a good chance of beating the existing record with the Passat TDI," Gerdes said in a statement. "But to smash it by averaging 77.99 mpg is really impressive and a testament to the potential of Volkswagen's TDI Clean Diesel vehicles."

Their achievement even topped the record of 64.6 mpg in the hybrid class.

The team used Shell ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel. The Passat was shod with Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology tires, designed to improve fuel economy by reducing rolling resistance. It was also equipped with a ScanGauge II performance and mileage monitor by Linear-Logic and a Motorola Droid RAZR Maxx HD smartphone to meet Guinness's tracking requirements.

The 2013 Passat TDI with manual transmission and VW's direct-injected, turbocharged clean diesel engine is EPA rated at 43 mpg on the highway.

So, other than aftermarket tires and a high-tech mileage checker, how do you get almost 78 mpg out of that same Volkswagen?

The choice of drivers is the key. Gerdes, an automotive journalist who has set mileage records in more than 100 vehicles, is the founder of CleanMPG.com, a site devoted to fuel economy. According to the site, Gerdes's "hypermiling" concept teaches "safe methods drivers can use to reduce fuel consumption in existing vehicles by 20 to 100 percent." His equally qualified friend, Winger, is an engineer with an extensive background in energy and conservation projects.

Hypermiling is a somewhat complicated issue. In general it begins with some commonsense principles like keeping tires inflated, driving smoothly, not idling unnecessarily, maintaining a steady speed, and turning off the air-conditioning. Other techniques include looking well ahead to plan in advance, using downhill momentum to crest an uphill section of road, and coasting between city stoplights.

Edmunds says: Your mileage may vary.

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