Volkswagen Passat TDI Sets Guinness World Record For Fuel Economy Around 48 United States

Monday, June 24, 2013
Phillip Robertson, adjudicator of Guinness World Records, congratulates Passat TDI record drivers, Wayne Gerdes (left) and Bob Winger.
Phillip Robertson, adjudicator of Guinness World Records, congratulates Passat TDI record drivers, Wayne Gerdes (left) and Bob Winger.

Volkswagen of America announced Monday that it has set a new Guinness World Records achievement for the “lowest fuel consumption—48 U.S. states for a non-hybrid car” category with a stellar 77.99 mpg — more than 10 mpg better than the previous mark of 67.9 mpg. The achievement also beats the hybrid vehicle record of 64.6 mpg by more than 13 mpg.

The Passat TDI Clean Diesel departed from Volkswagen of America’s headquarters in Herndon, VA, on Friday, June 7, at 12 p.m. and arrived back on June 24, having covered 8122 miles and visited all 48 states. The car, along with drivers Wayne Gerdes and Bob Winger, were greeted in Herndon by Volkswagen employees as well as Virginia State Delegates Tom Rust and Jim LeMunyon.

Delegate Tom Rust said, "Breaking a world record is a huge accomplishment, and I'm especially pleased that Volkswagen of America—a Herndon, Virginia-based company—is doing its part to make its products more environmentally compatible and less dependent on foreign oil by using cutting-edge diesel technology.  Congratulations!"

Jonathan Browning, president and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., 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.”

Wayne Gerdes, founder of cleanmpg.com was the primary driver. Automotive journalist Gerdes has made a career out of hypermiling and has set mileage records in more than 100 vehicles, as well as achieving the record for lowest fuel consumption in the lower 48 U.S. states with a hybrid vehicle at 64.6 mpg. His co-driver was Bob Winger, an electronics engineer long involved in energy and conservation projects.

“We felt we had a good chance of beating the existing record with the Passat TDI,” Mr. Gerdes said, “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.” Gerdes suggests:

  • 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.

The 2013 Passat TDI uses Volkswagen’s advanced turbocharged and direct-injection Clean Diesel engine to achieve EPA estimated highway fuel economy of 43 miles per gallon when equipped with the six-speed manual transmission. This enables the Passat TDI to go up to 795 highway miles before needing to refuel.

Clean Diesel engines are just one part of Volkswagen’s approach to sustainable mobility, encapsulated by the Think Blue philosophy. Volkswagen employs a wide range of powertrains—diesel, electric, hybrid, and intelligently downsized turbocharged gasoline engines—in its quest to be among the most eco-conscious automakers in the world. That approach extends to the factories in which the cars are built and the processes by which they are made.

For the attempt, the Passat TDI used Shell ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel, available at nearly 8,000 Shell stations nationwide, and Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology tires, which have Tg-F polymers to help reduce rolling resistance and improve fuel efficiency. The record-setting Passat TDI was equipped with a Linear Logic ScanGauge II to precisely measure fuel economy and a Droid RAZR MAXX HD by Motorola smartphone to provide Guinness World Records tracking requirements and long-lasting connectivity.


Clint Powell: I Can Do That Myself!

Asking tough questions is sometimes…well…tough! That just makes sense right? However, knowing that tough questions are tough to ask…doesn’t mean they are still not…well...tough! Shoot…I did it again. Captain Obvious on the job. Well, what kind of tough questions are we talking about? There are quite a few I could spend time on. ‘How old are you?’ – ‘How much do you weigh?’ – ‘Is ... (click for more)

Walker County Chamber Calendar Of Events

Here is the upcoming calendar of events for the Walker County: Ambassadors Committee Meeting Wednesday, Aug. 6 Young Professionals Council After Hours Wednesday, Aug. 13 Executive Board of Directors Meeting Thursday, Aug. 14 General Board of Directors Meeting Thursday, Aug. 21   (click for more)

Harr Outlines $40 Million Plan For Chattanooga Light Rail System

Outgoing Chamber of Commerce President Ron Harr on Monday outlined a $40 million plan for a Chattanooga light rail system that would serve not only downtown, but also the Airport and the Enterprise South Industrial Park. In a speech to the Chattanooga Engineers Club, Mr. Harr said most cities looking at such an ambitious plan "would be facing costs of over a billion dollars." ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Choo Choo Adding Clubs, Restaurants In $8 Million Renovation

The historic Chattanooga Choo Choo is adding clubs and restaurants in a $7 million renovation, it was announced in front of the South Market Street landmark on Monday morning. The Comedy Catch will be moving from its longtime home in Brainerd and there will be a new 500-person music venue that will be in addition to Track 29. The new venue, managed by Track 29, will feature a ... (click for more)

Senator Bob Corker: An Open Letter To Tennesseans

We are incredibly fortunate to live in a state in which companies worldwide are clamoring to establish a presence. Many attribute it to our pro-business culture, well-prepared workforce, low tax environment, right-to-work policies, and engaged citizenry.  That is why the announcement by Volkswagen to build its midsize sports utility vehicle and establish the South’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Wamp Refuses To Stoop

With less than two weeks before the Aug. 7 th election and the last week of early voting now underway in Hamilton County, Congressional challenger Weston Wamp sounded upbeat and relaxed early yesterday afternoon. “I’m pleased to say that I believe we are right where we need to be … maybe even more than we had hoped.” Wamp, who is challenging two-term incumbent Chuck Fleishmann ... (click for more)