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World Record Fuel Efficient Driving Attempt

World Record Fuel Efficient Driving Attempt

John and Helen Taylor with Sir Ranulph Fiennes who launchedtheir attempt to set a new Guiness World Record Fuel Efficiency, fuelled
by Shell


An Australian couple obessed with breaking records are attempting to set a new Guinness World Record for fuel efficient driving. Their journey will take them along New Zealand's roads next month.

Expert drivers John and Helen Taylor set off from London last night and aim to go 28,970 kilometres (driving up to 14 hours a day), across 25 countries, in 70 days… all on 50 tanks or less.

They will head across Europe, Asia, Australia, to New Zealand then onto the US. With this world record attempt the Taylors aim to demonstrate how consumers can be more fuel efficient, no matter where they live or what vehicle they drive.

They setting off from Waterloo Place, Pall Mall, passing by The Reform Club — where the legendary Phileas Fogg began his fictional journey “Around the World in 80 Days.”

When they arrive in New Zealand at the end of February, they are scheduled to drive from Christchurch to Picton (through Kaikoura, Blenheim) , catch the ferry, then head through Wellington up the coast to Wanganui, inland to Tamauranui, up through the Waikato to Auckland.

John and Helen Taylor are holders of thirty-four fuel-economy driving achievements (more than any other couple worldwide). For this challenge, the Taylors approached Shell to be their fuel provider and Shell is using this opportunity to road testing its newest Fuel Economy petrol formulation for the challenge, which it plans to introduce to the public in the future.

To see daily statistics on mileage and fuel consumption along the Taylors’ journey, will provide the most up-to-date information, as well as daily blogs by the Taylors and crew, photographs, highlights and tips on fuel efficiency.


Logistics For The Taylors’ Round-The-World Trip

General Equipment

This is no Sunday afternoon drive in the countryside, but the Taylors and their tight-knit support team (one independent witness, one film-maker, one writer and two mechanics) will be travelling as light as possible. Particularly in the Taylors’ case, since extra weight means extra demands on fuel.

There will be a total of three cars in the caravan: the Taylors’ Volkswagen Golf FSI 1.6, and two Volkswagen Passat Estates, which will serve as support crew vehicles. Between them, they’ll have to carry all the essentials to ensure a safe 28,970 km road journey, starting with the basics (clothing for seven – one holdall each, no more), plus – in case of trouble – the safety essentials (comprehensive first aid kits, torches, blankets and fire extinguishers).

The cars will be equipped with a GPS tracking system, satellite phones (for intercar communication). The support car will bristle with laptops, digital cameras, film cameras, and a plethora of batteries, chargers, adapters, power cables, memory cards, and tapes to enable the world to watch as the Taylors undertake their adventure.

On the consumables front, there’ll be plenty of dry food and sealed bottled water (in these cramped conditions, a stomach complaint could have very unpleasant consequences for other passengers), and – because those hours on the road are likely to become very tedious, a selection of CDs. John and Helen are more than happy with some jazz, a touch of Queen, and a smattering of Barbara Streisand. But if the support crew comprises one heavy metal freak, a classical music fan, and a folk aficionado, things could well turn tricky before they even reach the Channel Tunnel.

Also on board will be spare plastic wraps for the car - distinctively designed Shell Fuel Economy World Record Challenge covers - and one powerful hair-dryer. Not because anyone in the team is particularly concerned about matters relating to their coiffure, but because it takes skilled handling of a hair-dryer to apply the covers.

Measuring the Fuel

There are three allowable fuel measurement approaches, and the Taylors have opted to use two.

They’ll measure the amount of fuel added at every fuelling operation. Fuel will be added from drums. Using an industrial balance, the full drum will be weighed, then the fuel will be pumped into the car, and then the drum will be re-weighed. Weights will be recorded on a daily basis, and the total volume added will be calculated using the fuel’s density at 20 degrees centigrade. For those with a technical bent, this method is preferred over recording the volume, because it’s both safer and more accurate. Also, the fuel’s temperature does not require recording, therefore, volume-correcting to 20 degrees centigrade.

The second measure is the on-board fuel consumption measurement system, using the manufacturer’s engine management system (EMS) based output, which provides the information to the dash screen or multi-functional display (MFD).

Measuring the Distance Travelled

The vehicle’s odometer will be used to record the distance travelled. However, the accuracy of these units is such that there may be a small disparity with the true distance travelled. If used as the primary method, it should be calibrated at regular intervals or after changing tyres.

The alternative approach is to record the distance the vehicle travels each day by GPS tracking. The satellite system supplier will produce a daily report of the distance travelled. This approach will also enable the calibration of the vehicle’s odometer on a daily basis.

Using both the above procedures will enable two methods of measurement to be performed and provide duplicate figures in case of any unforeseen problems and this protocol has been approved by Guinness World Records.

The Taylors’ Fuel Economy Driving Achievements


Longest fuel range (Standard)
The greatest distance driven on a single standard tank of fuel is 2,348 kn (1,459.16 miles), driven by John and Helen Taylor between Melbourne, Victoria and Rockhampton, Queensland from 31 December to 2 January 2002.

Lowest fuel consumption driving around Australia
John and Helen Taylor drove around Australia, covering a distance of 14,634 km (9,093 miles) on just 512.32 litres (112.69 gallons) of diesel, from 27 February to 23 March 2004. This equals a fuel consumption of 3.5 1/100 km (80.7 mpg).


1991 Round Australia Record, Holden Barina, 75.57 mpg, 8,921 miles

1991 Round Britain Record, Daihatsu Charade, 103.01 mpg, 3,621 miles

1992 Round Australia 4 litre petrol record, 42.49 mpg, Ford Falcon Gli

1993 Melbourne to Sydney, Ford Falcon Gli LPG, 39mpg, 900kms

1994 Coventry to Milan, Rover, 68 mpg, 925 miles

1994 Darwin to Alice Springs one tank record, Land Rover, 53.39 mpg, 928 miles

1994 Round Australia LPG Record, Boral Gas Ford, 9.9 Ltr/100 kms, 14,433.2 kms

1996 Fuel Economy Driving Record, Cento (Italy) to Calais (France), Jeep Cherokee, 58.47 mpg, 900.5 miles

1997 Fuel Economy Driving Record, Cento (Italy) to Calais (France), Chrysler Voyager, 53 mpg, 870.5 miles

1999 World Record Longest Drive on a Tank (4 Wheel Drive), Melbourne to Brisbane, Daewoo Musso, 61.24 mpg, 1,703 kms.

2000 Australia City-to City Economy Record, Melbourne to Darwin, Daewoo Matiz, 1,111.7 kms on one tank

2000 Economy Driving World Record, Graz (Austria) to Brussels (Belgium) Chrysler Voyager, 65.3 mpg, 1077.5 miles

2000 24 Hour World Speed 7-seated Vehicle Record, Nardo (Italy), Chrysler Voyager, 4,304 kms, 199.3 kmph

2002 World City-to-City Record, Melbourne to Rockhampton, Peugeot 307 Hdi, 2,348.3 kms on one tank of fuel

2004 Round Australia Diesel Record/Round Australia Overall Record, Peugeot 307 Hdi, 81.01 mpg, 14,634 kms

John Taylor’s Acheivements

1978 3,000-mile European charity Walk

1979 900-mile Across Britain Charity Walk

1980 70-mile Charity Wheelchair Push (Isle of Wight)

1981 UK Economy Driving Record, Ford Fiesta, 90.05 mpg.

1986 Round Britain Economy Driving World Record, Ford Fiesta

1987 Round Britain Economy Driving World Record, Ford Fiesta

1988 Great Britain, end-to-end, Ford Fiesta, 92.5 mpg

1989 900-mile Charity Cycle Ride (4.5 days end to end)

1990 Australian Driving Record, Sydney to Adelaide, Daihatsu

1990 Round Australia World Record Drive, Daihatsu

“FuelStretch” TIPS

The Taylors’ Guinness World Record challenge will provide comprehensive insights for a fuel efficiency programme which Shell is promoting called “FuelStretch.” This programme is designed to help everyday motorists cut the cost of motoring through a mix of enhanced fuel technology and education in fuel-efficient driving techniques. So, when the Taylors leave London, they’ll be conscious that fuel-saving their way across the planet will mean they need to adhere to the following principles:

1. Drive smoothly - Aggressive driving can use as much as a third more fuel than safe driving*. Avoid accelerating or braking too hard and try to keep your steering as smooth as possible.

2. Use higher gears - The higher gear you drive in the lower your engine speed is, which can improve fuel efficiency. So change up a gear whenever you can, without labouring the engine.

3. Tune and service your engine - A well tuned engine can improve fuel economy by up to 4%**, so change your oil and follow your car manufacturer’s recommendation on servicing.

4. Keep your tyres at the right pressure – Correctly inflated tyres are safer and last longer. A tyre that is under inflated by just 1psi can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 3%**. An under or over inflated tyre is also more susceptible to failing.

5. Avoid carrying excess weight – For every extra 45 kg you carry your fuel efficiency can drop by 1-2%*. So keep your boot or back seat clear of unnecessary items that just add weight to your vehicle.

6. Keep the windows closed - Wind blowing through an open window will slow you down. To compensate, you may put your foot down harder, using more fuel.

7. Take the roof rack off - If you’re not using your roof rack then remove it. They affect the aerodynamic efficiency of your vehicle and create drag, reducing fuel economy by as much as 5%*.

8. Use the correct oil - Always use the recommended grade of motor oil. Using the manufacturer’s recommended lubricant can improve fuel efficiency by 1-2%**. Higher quality motor oils can also help your engine operate more efficiently.

9. Fuel Matters – All fuels are not created equal. Fuel economy is maximised in the engine through a combination of good driving habits and using the best fuel…one that helps reduce friction and improve cleanliness in the engine, thereby boosting fuel efficiency. The Taylors have chosen Shell fuel to power their world record attempt as a result of their own personal tests of several commercially-available fuels and their belief in Shell’s product quality and 50-year heritage of innovative fuels research and development.

10. Use cruise control - Using cruise control on major roads helps you maintain a constant speed and, in many cases, will improve fuel consumption.

11. Avoid excess idling - Idling gets you nowhere but still burns fuel. Turn the engine off when you’re in a queue, or waiting for someone, until you need it.

12. Plan trips carefully - Cutting down on the time spent in the car is the easiest way to conserve fuel. To reduce driving time, combine all your short trips and errands into a single journey.

13. Avoid over revving - Change gear in good time when you pull away or when you’re accelerating. Never ‘redline’ the rev counter.

14. Avoid high speeds - The faster you go the more wind resistance you’ll encounter and the more fuel your vehicle will consume just to maintain speed. Driving just 5mph over the speed limit can affect fuel economy by up to 23%***.

15. Keep your distance - Leave a sensible distance between yourself and the car ahead to give you ample time to brake evenly.

16. Use air conditioning sparingly – Air conditioning puts added strain on the engine and uses fuel to operate, so limit use to particularly hot or cold days. On temperate days use the fan instead.

17. Check the air filters - Air filters keep impurities from damaging your engine. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve fuel economy by as much as 10%** and will help protect your engine.

18. Avoid rush hour - If you can travel outside of peak times, you’ll spend less time stuck in traffic and consume less fuel as a result.

19. Conserve momentum - Think ahead when you’re driving. For example, slow down early to let traffic lights change, rather than stopping completely, or speed up a little before you reach the foot of a hill.

20. Avoid small fuel fills – Fuel evaporates every time you open the fuel cap. To stop this, avoid repeatedly topping up your tank. Also check the seal on your fuel cap is airtight.

It might sound like an awful lot to keep in mind: but once these tips are absorbed into drivers’ everyday approach to motoring and maintenance, they become second nature. What also becomes second nature is the knowledge that trips to the forecourt will become less frequent, which – in these days of rising costs – has to be a major benefit for each and every driver on the road.

Track the Taylors’ progress, day by day, on

*Estimates for fuel savings from sensible driving are based on studies and literature reviews performed by Energy and Environmental Analysis, Inc., Washington, DC.

**Estimates for fuel savings from vehicle maintenance, keeping tyres properly inflated, and using the recommended grade of motor oil are based on studies and literature reviews performed by Energy and Environmental Analysis, Inc., Washington, DC. Assumes fuel price of $3.07 per gallon.

***Estimates for the effect of speed on MPG are based on a study by West, B.H., R.N. McGill, J.W. Hodgson, S.S. Sluder, and D.E. Smith, Development and Verification of Light-Duty Modal Emissions and Fuel Consumption Values for Traffic Models, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, March 1999. Assumes fuel price of $3.07 cpg.


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