World's most fuel-efficient couple kicks off latest venture in Burbank

John and Helen Taylor set out from Burbank to drive the country using a record-low quantity of gas.

August 01, 2011|By Megan O'Neil,
  • John Taylor, from Melbourne, Australia, tanks up a Chevrolet Cruze at a Shell Station in Burbank on Monday, August 1, 2011. (Roger Wilson/Staff Photographer)
John Taylor, from Melbourne, Australia, tanks up a Chevrolet…

The world’s most fuel-efficient couple kicked off their latest record-setting venture on Monday, setting out from a Burbank gas station for a 23-day road trip around the continental U.S.

John and Helen Taylor hold 88 driving records, including the most efficient trips around the United States, South Africa and Britain. The Australians’ most recent stateside effort was in 2009 when they averaged 67.9 miles per gallon in a diesel, manual-transmission Volkswagen Jetta. The fuel bill for the 9,505-mile trip — $371.03.

As they fueled up a new Chevrolet Cruze at a Shell station on Hollywood Way at 6 a.m. Monday, John and Helen Taylor said the vehicle officially gets 42 miles per gallon. With a 12.6-gallon tank, they could travel about 520 miles per tank.

But they expect to far exceed that by using highly efficient driving techniques.

“Imagine being in a car with your partner, 23 days, 12 [to] 14 hours a day and not having one argument or swear word with each other, and enjoying the beautiful scenery you have in the country, meeting lots of wonderful people,” said John Taylor, 51.


The Taylors will travel the country counter-clockwise, heading east and driving at least 15 miles in all 48 continental states before eventually circling around to Las Vegas, a total distance of about 9,600 miles. They will stop at gas stations run by Shell, which is sponsoring the attempt, along the route where their mileage and fuel levels will be inspected and recorded by a station manager. Their progress can be tracked at

The pair shares driving duties.

“I think we drive very similarly because we drive so much together that you pick up each other’s habits,” said Helen Taylor, 55.

Meals will include sandwiches, nuts and dried fruit, although they try not to eat much as they will be sedentary for the entirety of the 23-day trek, the Taylors said. Restroom stops are infrequent.

Helen Taylor was turned on to fuel-efficient driving out of necessity — she once found herself with just 72-cents for gas to get to a job interview. She arrived by accelerating very slowly.

“That just started me off,” Helen Taylor said. “I became a little bit addictive about seeing how far I could go with one tank of fuel.”

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