It never ceases to amaze us how far some of these little diesel vehicles can travel. Volkswagen just set a new record with the Golf TDI by travelling a whopping 8,233.5 miles on less than 300 dollars in diesel fuel. If that’s not an impressive return on investment I don’t know what is. During the course of the trip the vehicle managed to travel through each of the 48 lower states and traveled for a total of 16 days.

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Setting the Record

Volkswagen managed to beat its own record while trying to do the same thing the company already did. Over this trip they managed to get 81.7 MPG, beating the old record of 77.99 MPG. It’s important to note that this trip beats the hybrid vehicle record by more than 6 MPG, which is pretty impressive since hybrids are supposed to be highly efficient drivers.

Driving Skills Preparation in California

You can’t just start driving and expect to meet the level of fuel efficiency that Bob Winger and Wayne Gerdes managed during their world-record trip. In order to hit the records that they did, the team had to spend hundreds of hours training in different driving conditions. They weren’t verifying the chosen route using these test trips, but rather honing efficient driving skills that would provide the fuel figures the team was striving for.

In a recount of the prep leading up the big trip Gerdes is on record saying that he relied on the Tejon Pass, the Cajon Pass, the San Gorgoino Pass and the Laguna mountains to figure out how to drive efficiently through steep elevation climbs and descents. It took countless trial runs through these mountain passes to hone steep incline driving skills enough to keep efficiency levels up where they needed them to be.

In order to learn how to deal with the highly congested sections of I-95 the trio would encounter through the northeastern portions of the trip, they headed over to 405 and 5 between LAX and San Diego. These notoriously congested sections served as a training ground to master efficient driving even when roads are packed and driving conditions are more restricted and start and stop traffic is common.

California is a state filled with unique features and even though the state was only a small portion of the overall record-setting trip, it served as the key training ground that made it possible for the trip to be successful in the first place.

The Trip

The trip started at the American Headquarters in Herndon Virginia on Monday the 22nd of June. After 16 days of straight driving the vehicle ended up in the same exact spot on July 7th. The main driver doing the run was Wayne Gerdes, but he had help from Bob Winger the co-driver along on the trip.

About the Vehicle

In order to accomplish this very impressive feat the 2015 Golf TDI relies on a turbo-charged engine that uses direct-injection technology and runs on diesel fuel. It has a 6-speed manual transmission that’s quite efficient. This particular vehicle was fitted with Linear Logic ScanGuage II to take a precise measure of the fuel economy throughout the trip. It also relied on an LG G4 smartphone and a Garmin Nuvi LM GPS navigator to get the vehicle where it needed to go all along.

This record shows you how far you can push a couple tanks of diesel if you know what you’re doing and if you have the proper equipment. The Golf TDI is meant to drive far without burning through much fuel, but I doubt anyone expected it to travel quite as far as it did in real-world driving conditions, or as efficiently.

Diesel vehicles are well-known for being fuel efficient and that’s why truck drivers rely on them to get freight around the country. It’s a benefit that recent vehicle buyers are beginning to notice, and could cause more shoppers to start choosing diesel when making their purchases.