Dueling Cross Country Tours Raise Diesel’s Profile

A pair of cheeky coast-to-coast efforts in Volkswagen Jetta TDIs will have America asking the question, “why aren’t we driving fuel efficient clean diesels?”

Volkswagen and Shell are backing the efforts of John and Helen Taylor, an Australian couple billed as “two of the world’s most fuel-efficient drivers,” in a counter-clockwise 8,000 mile trek to set a new record for the lowest fuel consumption on a nationwide drive. The Taylors will be driving a new 2009 clean diesel Jetta TDI, rated by the EPA at a very (!) conservative 29 city / 40 miles per gallon (MPG) highway.

The Taylors take off from Virginia today (September 3rd) are planning on a dozen fuel stops. Given their thrifty ways with the throttle, the Taylors should have little difficulty eclipsing the current record of 51.8 miles per gallon. The Taylors hold a Guinness World Record for their 2006 trip around the world in a VW Golf on just 24 tanks of fuel.

Like your diesel with a renewable twist?

Earth Biofuels is tackling the classic New York to Los Angeles route with Willie Run 2008, a biofueled adventure that seeks to go cross-country without stopping once for fuel. The trip aims to breath new life into Earth Biofuel’s Willie Nelson-branded biodiesel.

A jumbo auxiliary tank in the Willie One Jetta TDI will hold all the Bio Willie biodiesel needed to make the trip. Or so co-drivers Nik Bristow and Brian Pierce hope. Willie Run kicks off on September 22. Everyone is invited to become a sponsor … just five bucks will get your name on the car.

Earlier this year, the Taylors drove a pair of diesel powered Jeeps (a Compass and a Patriot) from London to Berlin – a total distance of 698.4 miles) on less than one tank of fuel each. Helen scored 66.76 MPG (approximately 55.6 US MPG) driving the Jeep Compass, while John hit 67.46 MPG (approximately 56.2 US MPG) in the Jeep Patriot.

3 thoughts on “Dueling Cross Country Tours Raise Diesel’s Profile”

  1. That all well and good, but my daily ride a 2003 VW TDI jetta averages 55 to 60 US mpg on the highway, and 800 miles on a 14.5 gallon fuel tank is the standard. Oh, by the way I use regular diesel. I would like to try biodiesel some day, if it ever comes to my neck of the woods, Chesapeake, Virginia. feel free to come ride with me anytime.

Leave a Comment