According to the press release from VW (press credential required), the Passat TDI broke the previous record for best average non-hybrid vehicle MPG on a circuitous loop through the 48 contiguous United States by more than 10 MPG– setting a mark of 77.99 MPG and trouncing the previous record of 67.9 MPG.
“The achievement also beats the hybrid vehicle record of 64.6 MPG by more than 13 MPG,” the release was quick to point out.
Leaving VW’s U.S. headquarters in Herndon, VA, the Passat piloted by drivers Wayne Gerdes and Bob Winger reportedly traveled some 8,122 miles through all 48 contiguous states, arriving back in Herndon, VA at its starting point just 17 days after starting off on its journey.
Volkswagen Group of America President and CEO Jonathan Browning said, “To cover 8122 miles on just 104.94 gallons of fuel is nothing short of astonishing and shows just how economical our TDI Clean Diesel vehicles can be. Even for everyday drivers, the mileage benefits of our TDI engines are significant: Volkswagen has no fewer than six TDI Clean Diesel models that achieve an EPA estimated fuel economy rating of 40 mpg or better on the highway.”
As we told you earlier, Gerdes founded cleanmpg.com. The release noted him as “the primary driver.” Having set MPG records in more than 100 vehicles, according to the release, he was pretty confident the Passat TDI could beat the previous non-hybrid record.
Gerdes said, “We felt we had a good chance of beating the existing record with the Passat TDI, 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. Obviously, we employ some specialized techniques to achieve such figures, but there’s no reason why owners of TDI vehicles shouldn’t be able to achieve great mileage with a few simple pointers.”
Among the pointers Gerdes suggested:
Plan in advance: look for impediments or topography 15 to 45 seconds ahead, rather than reacting to where you’re currently driving. Use downhill momentum to help crest an uphill section.
Allow the rabbits to win the race to the stoplights. Heavy braking and acceleration consume fuel at a far greater rate than coasting between intersections.
Obey speed limits: The difference in fuel economy between 55 mph and 75 mph can be as much as 30 percent or even higher in some cars.
A final note: The release said the Passat TDI used in the record attempt was using standard ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) available anywhere diesel is sold in the United States, as well as Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology tires designed for low rolling resistance. Finally, the car was equipped with a Linear Logic ScanGauge II to precisely measure fuel economy and a Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX HD smartphone to provide the necessary tracking data to Guinness World Records.