84 mpg?! Couple Break Mileage Record With Passat TDI

John and Helen Taylor really know how to stretch a tank of gas. The couple squeezed 1,626 miles out of one tank of diesel fuel in a Volkswagen Passat TDI, breaking previous records.

During a three-day trip, the couple set out to beat the previous record for the most miles covered on a single tank of diesel: 1,526.6 by a VW Passat diesel in Europe.

The Taylors left Houston on May 3 in a 2012 Passat TDI with a manual transmission and ran out of fuel three days and nine states later in Sterling, Va.

Before the drive, the speedometer and odometer were calibrated by a state-certified testing facility. The Houston Police Department oversaw the initial fuel fill-up and sealed the gas tank at the beginning of the drive. At the end, a Loudoun County, Va., sheriff's deputy verified the ending mileage and removed the fuel-tank seal. The result was a whopping 84.1 mpg; the Passat TDI is EPA-rated at 31/43 mpg city/highway.

According to Volkswagen, the couple aimed to simulate real-world driving conditions and loaded the car with 120 pounds of luggage, drove in daytime traffic, took turns at the wheel and didn’t spend more than 14 hours on the road each day.

But the Taylors aren't strangers to mileage challenges: They've made a career out of driving efficiently and conducting workshops on fuel-efficient driving techniques. They hold more than 90 world fuel-economy and vehicle-related records.

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Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Geiger is a reviewer, car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats, many of them while driving a minivan.  Email Jennifer