When Australians John and Helen Taylor drove the entire lower 48 states last summer, setting a U.S. fuel economy Guinness World Record by averaging an astonishing 58.82 miles per gallon, Goodyear Tires wasn’t impressed. The company contacted the Taylors, suggesting they should use the company’s Assurance Fuel Max tires. This week, using the Fuel Max tires, the Taylor’s indeed did crush their old record by driving the exact same route at 67.9 miles per gallon. Their driving lessons could now potentially help solve the world’s oil and energy crisis.
“We’ve had 4000 emails a month. People writing, saying ‘are you going to be running workshops? Can you talk to us?’” John told BigThink in a sit-down interview after the couple completed their road trip in New York this past week. “We want to educate everyone around the world. For us, having this positive response is brilliant.” With 80 fuel economy and driving records to their credit, the Taylors have become a model of how driving responsibly won’t simply save drivers money at the pump, but also simultaneously save the environment as well as lives on the road. “They all go hand in hand,” says Helen “If you drive economically, you’ll drive more safely and be improving the environment because you’ll be using less fuel.”
In their most recent jaunt around the 48 contiguous states, the Taylors completed the 9,500-mile trip in their 2009 Volkswagon Jetta TDI clean-diesel car in less than three weeks, throwing in vacations in Niagara Falls and Las Vegas for good measure. All the while, they managed to shatter a number of misconceptions most Americans have about fuel efficiency. Many of their valuable tips can be found at the couple’s web site at fuelacademy.com, where the Taylor’s also provide a blow-by-blow account of their ultimate road trip. Altogether, they demonstrated that, as much as they embrace alternative energies and electric vehicles as a means of fuel efficiency and emission reduction, a few helpful tips can make a world of difference across the globe.
“When we were in Kenya, we saw some of the poorest people we’ve ever seen in our lives. They have 14-person taxis on which the drivers spend 60,000 shillings a day on gas,” says John. “Helen went in one taxi and I went in another and we did the circuit they do. It took us 30 minutes longer but the passengers said it’s the most relaxed taxi ride they’ve been on and they only spent 37,000 shillings instead of 60,000. That’s more than 8 million shillings savings a year. You could buy a new mini-bus for this. The drivers were saying ‘this is the best thing that has ever happened to us.’ We’re going to circumnavigate the continent next year and smash the world record.”