As if to prove the car makers can produce 50+ miles/gallon vehicles called for in recent changes to the CAFE standard, last week GM announced results of a road trip taken by Australian fuel efficiency experts John and Helen Taylor. The trip, in an unmodified Chevy Cruze Eco, covered 9,552 miles touching all 48 contiguous U.S. states, and achieved 64.42 miles/gallon fuel efficiency.
The “Smarter Driving” road trip was sponsored by Shell Oil under their Smarter Driving initiative. They teamed up with the Taylor’s to demonstrate and test the fuel efficiency of Chevy’s Cruze Eco. Of course throughout the trip they used only Shell’s Nitrogen Enhanced gasoline. The Taylors hold 42 world records in fuel efficiency, and run a pair of websites through which they teach fuel efficiency techniques. Shell and the Taylers have collaborated for years in “pushing the boundaries of fuel efficiency”.
Their trip around the U.S. took 22 days, involved 9,552 miles of driving and touched the lower 48 states. Unlike artificial fuel economy events on test tracks with specially modified vehicles, this occurred on regular roads with an unmodified production vehicle. This is enough to make the 64.42 miles/gallon average over the trip statistically significant.
The Cruze Eco is one of the Cruze models. It achieves an EPA rating of 42mpg highway efficiency (manual transmission) without any electrification or hybridization. It has a 1.4 liter turbo-charged engine named Ecotec, that’s designed for high efficiency. The car has improved aerodynamics and various weight-saving features such as light-weight 17-inch wheels and tires that save 21.2 pounds (9.6 kg) per vehicle. While the manual transmission Cruze Eco has the ultimate fuel efficiency, some of the other Cruze models are also highly efficient. The automatic transmission Cruze Eco gets 39 miles/gallon highway, and the LT and LTZ models get 38 miles/gallon.
How did the Taylor’s achieve 64.42 mpg on a vehicle rated for 42 mpg? Shell’s website has some tips including smarter driving habits (accelerate smoothly, use cruise control, avoid high speed, avoid idling) and better maintenance (keep your engine tuned, change fluids regularly, etc). The Taylor’s also publish information and training on their websites.
This trip demonstrates the recent 54 mpg change to the CAFE standards are achievable, even without requiring any electrification measures on vehicles.
Chevrolet Cruze Eco Averages 64 MPG Over 9,552 Miles
Shell Smarter Driving