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Drive Life : August 27th 2010
1HERSA1 F014 SIX FIGURE LUXURY FOR ONLY FIVE FROM $99,990 DRIVEAWAY V6 petrol engine Bluetooth® connectivity Touch-screen satellite navigation Smart Key SystemTM for keyless start Leather interior and metallic paint JAG5544/SMH/T24 ALTO JAGUAR ARTARMON 393 Pacific Highway Artarmon (02) 9436 0231 TRIVETT JAGUAR ALEXANDRIA 75-85 O'Riordan Street Alexandria (02) 8338 2197 TRIVETT JAGUAR PARRAMATTA 60-64 Church Street Parramatta (02) 9841 4148 MACARTHUR JAGUAR NARELLAN 8 Yarmouth Place Narellan (02) 4636 8400 14 Drive Life August 27, 2010 drive.com.au WORLD RECORDS STEPHEN LACEY The high miles club How far can you drive on a tank of fuel? Meet the people who take it to the limit. Frugal rules . . . John Taylor and his wife, Helen, hope to be the world's most fuel-efficient couple. Photo: Luis Enrique Ascui 'We've had drivers swear at us or beep their horns but that's just because they haven't planned their day properly.' John Taylor Helen Taylor will never forget thetimeshehadtogettoa job interview and there was only a sniff of petrol left in the tank of her old Kingswood. Stopping at a service station was out of the question because she only had 72¢ in her pocket. ''I desperately needed this job, so I just had to keep driving, making that tiny bit of fuel last,'' she says. ''I made it to the interview and got the job. From that day on, I realised what was possible if you really concentrated on the way you drove. I became obsessed with going further and further on a tank of fuel.'' Since that time, she and her husband, John, have set 42 fuel- economy world records, including driving from Melbourne to Rockhampton (2348 kilometres) in 36 hours on less than a standard tank of fuel, in a Peugeot 406 HDi. They've also driven a Peugeot 308 HDi 1.6 manual around Britain, averaging 2.23 litres per 100 kilometres. And in 2006 they piloted a VW Golf 1.6 FSi around the world (25 countries on four continents) averaging 4.5L/100km and using just 24 tanks of fuel. When the world's most fuel- efficient couple aren't setting records, they're holding workshops around the globe, consulting with governments, fleet companies and big business, teaching people how to drive more frugally. ''It's not about the records,'' John says. ''It's about education. We receive thousands of emails each month from people around the world, thanking us for helping them save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars from their fuel bill.'' The Taylors' website (fuelacademy .com) lists 30 tips to help you save money at the bowser (see breakout). Helen says if the average driver took on just a couple of these tips, he or she would save 10 per cent off their annual fuel bill, cut down on maintenance costs, be a safer driver and reduce CO2 emissions. ''Everyone can do it,'' she says. ''Not everybody is in the financial position to change to a smaller, more economical car but these tips work just as well for any car. The important thing is to commit and start today.'' The Taylors say they can double the manufacturer's claimed fuel- efficiency figures in most, if not all cars. They've driven a 4.2-litre BMW 6 Series cabriolet 1488 kilometres and still had 17 litres left. They've even achieved 10.69L/100km in a thirsty Dodge Viper at race speed. Speaking of cars, the Taylors putt around in a 2.0-litre Peugeot 308 HDi automatic and achieve more than 1000 kilometres on every tank. ''Automatics are not quite as efficient as a manual but they're getting ever closer. The automatic in this particular model Peugeot is amazing,'' Helen says. She says the most common question she's asked is what car should we buy? ''Would we buy an HSV Commodore? No, we'd always opt for something more efficient. We've found the third-generation Prius to be a very nice drive. I think we'd have no trouble breaking an Australian record in one of those.'' It would be fair to assume the Taylors always have a line of angry traffic snaking down the road behind their Peugeot. They say they don't. ''People are under the illusion you have to drive super slowly to get major fuel economy but that's not the case. We sit at five to 10 kilometres under the limit,'' John says. ''Sure, over the years we've had one or two drivers swear at us or beep their horns but that's just because they haven't planned their day properly.'' Helen adds: ''As fuel-efficient drivers we're always one step ahead. We slow down using the gears when approaching a red traffic light and by the time we reach it, it's usually changed to green and so we use our momentum to keep moving.'' The Taylors are quick to distance themselves from the sub-culture known as hypermilers. Originating in the US but now a worldwide movement, hypermilers also try to extract every last mile from a gallon of fuel (to use the native parlance) but some go to extreme lengths. Hypermiler tactics include slip- streaming large trucks (a technique know as draft-assisted forced auto stop, or D-FAS); ridge riding -- driving on the smooth outside edge of the road to cut down on drag; and pulse and glide -- accelerating to the speed limit (pulse) then putting the car in neutral or cutting the engine to coast down the highway. At the even more extreme end of the spectrum, hypermilers have been known to coast through stop signs to maintain momentum, strip out the interior of their car to cut down on weight, fit lighter wheels (or aerodynamic wheel discs) and inflate their tyres to 60psi for reduced friction. Some go so far as to use engine oil with the lowest possible viscosity (for less friction) and only fill their tank in the cool of the day to avoid losing fuel vapour. In 2008, the Hypermiling Safety Foundation was formed to discourage dangerous hypermiling practices. ''We don't associate ourselves with hypermilers,'' John says. ''For us, highway safety is paramount. Anyway, some of the techniques the hypermilers adopt don't even work. We beat a Scandinavian champion who used the glide technique, putting his car in neutral to coast down hills. He didn't realise that putting a modern car in neutral to go down hill actually wastes more fuel than leaving it in the highest gear.'' Education is the platform from which the Taylors want to change the world. They have recently approached the federal government with the outline for a national fuel- efficiency driving program, to cut emissions by 5 per cent. Their rationale is: ''Children are the drivers of our future. We'd love for our schoolkids to be taught the three key words to efficient driving: calm, smooth, consistent.'' In the next few days, the couple will launch a website (Eco2driving .com) where, for an annual fee of $100, members can apply to register for a national or world fuel-economy record using LPG, CNG, petrol, diesel, hybrid, electric or solar power. See drive.com.au/green-cars Bowser busters The Taylors' top 10 tips for saving fuel: Drive smoothly. Use higher gears (without labouring the engine). Keep your tyres at the correct pressure. Remove the roof rack when not in use. Turn off the engine when waiting for someone, or in a queue. Avoid travelling above the speed limit. Accelerate gradually when moving off. Drive downhill in gear, not neutral. Avoid over-revving. Keep calm.
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