Volkswagen Passat TDI Smashes World Record With 78 MPG On U.S. Trip

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2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI achieves a Guinness record-breaking 78 MPG

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI achieves a Guinness record-breaking 78 MPG

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Two drivers have set a new Guinness World Record for achieving the lowest fuel consumption in the lower 48 states in a non-hybrid car.

Wayne Gerdes and co-driver Bob Winger returned an amazing 78 mpg around the 48 contiguous states in a 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI, the highest-mpg diesel on sale in the U.S.

After 8,122 miles and 16 days, the pair's impressive economy numbers were witnessed by Guiness World Record representatives, sealing and official record.

The team set off earlier this month, with the aim of beating a previous 68 mpg record for diesel vehicles.

Gerdes himself also holds the equivalent hybrid record, set last year with 64.5 mpg in a Kia Optima Hybrid.

"We felt we had a good chance of beating the existing record with a series production Passat TDI," Gerdes said after taking the record.

"...But to smash it by averaging over 78 mpg is really impressive and a testament to the potential of Volkswagen’s TDI vehicles. It also shows how much the fuel consumption depends on the driver."

It does indeed, with Gerdes a hypermiling expert, able to extract huge figures from pretty much any vehicle he drives.

At this point, we'd remind our readers that while hypermiling is a broad term and many techniques can improve your gas mileage by a large degree, some techniques can be dangerous in certain situations and at the very least, can disrupt traffic.

As such, some shouldn't be practised on the road--never sacrifice safety to achieve a few more miles to each gallon.

Of course, we're sure the Volkswagen's trip was as safe as can be, and it does go to show how much of an effect driving technique and road conditions can improve mileage.

You may not reach 78 mpg, but numbers higher than those on the EPA window sticker may well be within reach, with a little effort.


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Comments (8)
  1. Great job! I expected nothing less from Wayne and Bob!

  2. That's impressive but it is unbelievable that 30 years ago when I got my first (new) car it was a diesel Rabbit which got 58MPG. I now drive a Tesla Model S and get way more than 78MPG with mostly extremely low emissions thanks to my solar panels.

  3. Automatic or manual?

  4. Manual

  5. Not surprised. I own a 2012 Passat TDI, with 6 speed manual. Just completed a 5 day 2400 mile round trip from central Texas to Ashville, NC. A good part of this trip was with air conditioning on. Some mountain driving, a lot of interstate. Also, got stuck in Atlanta rush hour traffic for an hour crossing Atlanta, and quite a bit of stop and go traffic in towns where we stopped. Got 48.5 mpg overall, with longest leg between fillups at 773 miles. No Tesla could do this. I also own a Nissan Leaf. Each car has its niche.

  6. My Volt has gotten over 250 mpg after 23,000 miles...

  7. Why in the world are you guys comparing electric cars to this? It's apples to oranges!

  8. It was good to hear the details; now we can all apply them to our driving.

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