VW Passat TDI Aims to Break Guinness World Record for 48-state MPG Average

Sections: Fuel Economy

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Volkswagen said two drivers in a Passat TDI aim to break the Guinness World Record for fuel efficiency while driving circuitously around the 48 contiguous states.

According to the press release from VW, the diesel-powered Passat TDI’s trek started at the automaker’s U.S. headquarters in Herndon, VA on Friday, June 7 and was to head west along a southerly route before circling back around in the western U.S. and taking a northern leg eastbound, passing through all 48 continental United States and racking up around 8,000 miles over the course of about two weeks before ending where the journey began back in Herndon. The goal is to beat the current Guinness record for fuel economy on a 48-state journey– which will be no small achievement, given that record currently stands at 67.9 MPG, according to the release.

Thankfully for VW’s chances, the Passat TDI is being piloted by a couple of guys who know their stuff when it comes to fuel economy. Driver Wayne Gerdes is the founder of, a site that advocates for higher fuel efficiency and lower emissions. The release said Gerdes has set fuel economy records in more than 100 vehicles in addition to setting the record for least fuel used on a similar 48-state journey in a hybrid vehicle. Co-Driver Bob Winger, meanwhile, is an electronics engineer who has been involved in energy conservation projects for years, the release said.

Gerdes said, “It ’ s going to be a great adventure, and I’ m confident we can improve upon the current record of 67 .9 MPG in the fuel-efficient Passat TDI.”

The Passat TDI is ranked by the EPA at 43 MPG on the highway when equipped with the six-speed manual– i.e. the correct— transmission. At that rate, the car can travel up to 795 bladder-busting miles before needing to stop for refueling, though if they make good on their intent, Gerdes and Winger had better have bladders of steel, as they’ll be going much further than that between fill-ups.

The drivers have been sharing photos and experiences from their journey so far at VW’s social media channels on Facebook and Twitter. At last update, the Passat TDi had already passed through Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. We’ll be keeping an eye out for the final results. Watch this space.

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