If cars can get triple-digit fuel economy from a single gallon of fossil fuels, do we really need an alternative? That is quite the question, isn’t it? It is made all the more complicated because a couple of well-known hypermilers just set a new cross-country mpg record in a turbodiesel-powered Volkswagen Passat TDI, averaging an astounding 77.9 mpg.
CleanMPG.com founder Wayne Gerdes and co-driver Bob Winger, an electrical engineer, visited all 48 contiguous U.S. states in 17 days, covering 8,122 miles on just 104.94 gallons of diesel fuel. The duo set off from Volkswagen’s Virginia headquarters and using techniques like drafting and shifting into neutral going downhill, they average almost 78 mpg.
Keep in mind this includes crossing some serious mountain ranges multiple times, including the Rockies and Adirondacks. Gerdes managed to beat his own 48-state record of 64.55 mpg, set back in 2011 with a Kia Optima Hybrid. With turbodiesels now surpassing hybrids in terms of fuel economy, are we approaching an age where burning fossil fuels is the responsible thing to do?