Sixtynine point seven miles per gallon!

Above: The amazing 1.9 Liter, VW TDI engine. The thing that makes my Jetta go.

OK, so everyone knows I’m a cheapskate and make my own Diesel fuel from veggie oil. (yes Paul, I promise a diagram of the filtering setup soon!)

I also am a total lead foot and don’t drive very economically. I rarely drive the speed limit and frequently exceed it by a fair margin. I’m not an idiot, and I don’t speed where it would be dangerous to myself or others. I have only been *ticketed* for speeding twice in the past 10 years, so I must be good at avoiding speeding tickets (I have been stopped several times and warned though.) There was a blog post I saw linked off a few weeks back about avoiding speeding tickets that was partially wrong, and misleading in some aspects… perhaps I should write up a full post of my own. Anyway, this isn’t about speeding… in fact quite the contrary, it is about fuel economy. So even despite my lead foot and frequent runs at autobahn speeds, my car still averages 50 MPG. I find that amazing. It begs then how well would it do if I wasn’t such a pseudo-Schumi?

I once again drove half a tank (300 miles) in my VW Jetta TDI this past week or so, and when I topped it off tonight on my way home I was gobsmacked by the mileage I made. You see I spent the week driving verrrry carefully. This meant upshifting at 2000 RPMs on the tach, coasting down hills in neutral, coasting to stoplights and stop signs in neutral, (mostly) driving the speed limit, etc. I went 300 miles on 4.3 gallons of my veggie oil and Diesel fuel mixture. That is 69.767 miles to the gallon. That is US gallons for my overseas readers, which equals 0.832 Imperial gallons, or 3.78 liters.

69.7 MPG = 29.71 km/L

I could have managed 70 MPG if I hadn’t succumbed to temptation and NOT had a several mile long run @ 100 MPH a few nights ago. I ran an errand on Wednesday night that put me on a deserted divided highway at around 10 PM. I came off a stop light and onto the freeway doing my usual “shift @ 2000 rpm” routine, but once I realized I was alone I just kept accelerating to the mythical “ton” and rode along for several miles like that with a smile on my face. I did coast for quite a way after the ton-run to make ammends… in fact I was able to coast UP a big hill after that. ­čśë

My only issue with driving like this is that it is mind-numbingly boring, and lacks that je ne c’est quois… that essential Fahrverg├â┬╝gen I seek when behind the wheel. This is why I can never make it past half a tank! If I ran it all the way I’d die of boredom before I ran out of fuel!

So was this in some goofy anemic Hybrid filled with digital gizmos? Nope. It was in a low-tech car with an oil burning engine, albeit one running a very “green” fuel. I challenge any Hybrid or even electric car to go as far, as fast as a TDI equipped car. It just can’t be done. I could run from my home to Red Bluff, California (~700 miles) on a single tank of fuel, and do it in about 8 hours. Amazing. This car amazes me.

12 thoughts on “Sixtynine point seven miles per gallon!”

  1. I have to admit, I don’t fully understand the mpg discrepancy among TDI’s – if you read the forums, you have people (with manual transmissions) getting everywhere from low-mid 30’s to your type of mileage – and some of the 30ish mpg people claim to drive very economically.

    My golf seems to get around 45 mpg no matter what I do to it – fast driving, slow driving, city, highway. This is up 1 mpg or so, lifetime average, from before my chip/nozzle mods. While I’m fairly pleased with that mileage, I’d really like to get 50+ mpg, but I’m at a loss as to what I could do that would get me there at this point. Perhaps it’s that some TDI engines are more “blueprinted” from the factory than others, and that accounts for the mpg discrepancy among the cars sampled.

  2. I heard a most wonderful rumor about Honda getting into TDI. If that turns out to be true, I’ll be a happy scooter.

    I just don’t like the way VW’s are set up. They make me feel claustrophobic. There’s also the issue with their oh-so-wrong placement of reverse. That shit’s just not right.

    But yeah, for that kind of mileage, or even close…oh HELL yeah.

  3. John, Honda sells Diesels in Europe. Hell EVERYONE sells Diesels in Europe… even the Big 2.5! Why they don’t sell them here is a mystery to me. Yes, the California emissions standards are heavily biased against Diesels, but if VW and Mercedes have been able to sell them here for the last 25+ years, there is no reason everyone else hasn’t.

    Carl, I don’t know what to tell you. I’ve only seen MPGs in the 40s on my car a few times. One time when I swapped tires and wheels with my wife’s old New Beetle, which were lower profile/wider tires. The odo drift was part of it, but I did the math on the tire circumference and calculated the odo diff would account for a small percentage. What size are your tires? It could also be your fuel. I have noticed better MPG with the veggie oil mix. 5-10% improvement. When is the last time you changed your fuel filter? It is a pretty easy trick on the TDI since they mounted it so high. You need to fill it with fuel before you change it to maintain the vacuum, but it isn’t that hard. I do mine at least once a year.

  4. My tires/wheels are stock – 195/60 (iirc) r 15. I can’t really see how a 50/50 mix of fuel (half of which is roughly 10% less energy dense than petrodiesel) would *increase* fuel mileage, but I’ve read similar claims from other people as well. I’ve never changed my fuel filter (in 8k mi of ownership), but I’ve got an 80K mi maintenance coming up, and I’d planned to do the whole major maintenance thing at that point. Thanks for the ideas!

  5. impressive fuel use Chuck – sounds even better in ‘real’ gallons – 83.8mpg!!

    you might be amused Chuck but when NZ went all metric many many years ago the mpg figures didn’t change to kilometres per litre but went to litres per 100 kilometres!….and for some bizzare reason it has stuck – so the smaller number the better here…. still seems weird to me so I am always converting back to the old mpg …


  6. So I always thought the Passat was downmarket from the Jetta. But all the Passats I see for sale are MORE money than the equivalent Jetta. Do I have this the wrong way round?

  7. I’d hafta google it, but the world’s mileage record was set by something along the lines of a 3 cubic inch diesel, operating adiabatically …at something like 2100 MPG….though it never went far!

  8. I can’ help ut notice: there’s not a spot of oil leakage on the engine: Perhaps you keep things nice and neat, but I also suspect it’s because modern engines ae just SO damn well-sealed…love it!

  9. Actually, there is a leaking injector, which I need to fix, but it is invisible from above.

    But you are right, that engine stays shockingly clean. Partially due to the tight tolerances those clever Germans designed, but also because they have shrouded the engine compartment on all sides with sound deadening, which also keeps out rain, and dust.

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