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Ford Fusion Hybrid 1,000 Mile Challenge Car Sets Record with 1,445 Miles on Single Tank of Gas; Averages 81.5 mpg

Drivers trained in mileage-maximizing techniques such as smooth acceleration and coasting to red lights were able to wring 1,445.7 miles out of a single tank of gas during a fund-raising effort in Washington, DC that concluded today. They did it by averaging 81.5 miles per gallon in an off-the-showroom floor, non-modified 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, nearly doubling its EPA rating.

“Not only does this demonstrate the Fusion Hybrid’s fuel efficiency, it also shows that driving technique is one of the keys to maximizing its potential.”
—Nancy Gioia, director, Ford Sustainable Mobility Technologies and Hybrid Vehicle Programs

The Fusion Hybrid 1,000-Mile Challenge started on 25 April. After more than 69 continuous hours of driving, the Fusion Hybrid finally depleted its tank and came to a stop with an odometer reading of 1,445.7 miles—setting a world record for gasoline-powered, midsize sedan.

The challenge team, which included NASCAR star Carl Edwards, hypermiler Wayne Gerdes and several Ford Motor Company engineers, raised more than $8,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) by exceeding the goal of 1,000 miles on a single tank of gas. The Fusion Hybrid’s official estimated range is approximately 700 miles per tank.

A team of seven drivers prepared for the challenge by learning a few mileage-maximizing techniques, most of which can be used in any vehicle to improve fuel economy, but are especially useful in the Fusion Hybrid where the driver can take advantage of pure electric energy at speeds below 47 mph. founder Wayne Gerdes, an engineer from Illinois who coined the term “hypermiling” to describe the mileage-maximizing techniques, provided the pointers. They include:

  • Slowing down and maintaining even throttle pressure;
  • Gradually accelerating and smoothly braking;
  • Maintaining a safe distance between vehicles and anticipating traffic conditions;
  • Coasting up to red lights and stop signs to avoid fuel waste and brake wear;
  • Minimize use of heater and air conditioning to reduce the load on the engine;
  • Close windows at high speeds to reduce aerodynamic drag;
  • Applying the “Pulse and Glide” technique while maintaining the flow of traffic;
  • Minimize excessive engine workload by using the vehicle’s kinetic forward motion to climb hills, and use downhill momentum to build speed; and
  • Avoiding bumps and potholes that can reduce momentum.

In addition, it is important for Fusion Hybrid drivers to manage the battery system’s state of charge through the use of regenerative braking and coasting, and balancing the use of the electric motor and gas engine in city driving to avoid wasting fuel.

The Fusion Hybrid 1,000-Mile Challenge team took turns driving several routes in and around the national capital over the course of approximately three days and nights. The route involved elevation changes, and ranged from the relatively open George Washington Parkway to a 3-mile stretch in the heart of the city that is clogged with roughly 30 traffic signals.



The EPA is suppose to be like 41 mpg city on the new Fusion hybrid. If they could make enough of them to fill all the demand, they might make a decent profit and get some more clean efficient cars out there.


Now if they could just find anyone who would be content to drive the way the drivers did, without causing road rage from the other drivers.


at 22 mph average speed, everyone is pissed off at ya for sure!


at 22 mph you can take your bike, that's my speed on my low-racer recumbent, and as a head turner a Porsche is just a joke compared to my Optima Baron Low Racer


Optima Baron Low Racer

How nice, I own one too....

Mike Urseth

It seems to me that a lot of these mileage techniques could be programmed into the cruise control. Add a GPS link to maintain awareness of the route and you'd have a semi-automated nav system offering maximum mpg and/or quickest travel time (traffic light timing, etc)

Doesn't sound like rocket science to me.


This is just the latest endurance run from Wayne Gerdes. In 2005 he and four others drove a stock Prius 1397 miles on 12.8 gallons for 109.3 mpg (2.15 l/100km).

Then in 2006 he and five others took a stock Insight (original version) 2,254 miles on 13.7 gallons for 164.3 mpg (1.43 l/100km)

(81.5 mpg = 2.9 l/100km)


Just a clarification - the other single tank records are not done on a "midsize sedan", that's how Ford claims that title. The Prius, since 2004, is midsized, but a hatchback, and the Insight was a compact hatchback.

And an amusing note: when converting the mpg to l/100km for my previous post, I had to do some math myself since the 164.3 mpg was not accepted by the online mileage converter I found - it only accepted numbers up to 150 mpg.


While there records are all very well, what we need are cars that can be driven by normal people in normal conditions - I would not like to be stuck behind one of these on a narrow road.

You certainly could teach economical driving, and make it part of the driving tests (even the theoretical parts).

You don't have to get to 81mpg to make a difference, there would be something to be said for at least teaching people how to drive economically, even if they later choose not to.

On the subject of bikes, recumbants scare me - I travel 9 miles across a city* each day, and I like the ability to see above cars, and be seen.

I know they are very fast on the flat, but I trade the speed for the ability to see well and be seen (and understood).

*and 9 miles back


The records are there to show what the car is capable of. I don't think anybody really expects to get that mileage under normal driving conditions (except maybe Wayne :-) This does show it's not just smoke and mirrors, that the Fusion hybrid is actually an efficient vehicle. As such, that's a good thing.

If everybody averaged 48 mpg instead of 24, we'd drop our gas consumption in half. But adding another 24 mpg (to 72 mpg) would only drop consumption another 16% (by 66% from original), so obviously the first step is the easiest and what we should really focus on.

About recumbents - I have the same visibility concerns, but I'm going to try one out soon, more for comfort than anything. And put a full fairing on it, and you can ride in any weather. I do have a pretty safe commute on side roads in my case.



Really you own an Optima Baron, you are really not an ordinary girl, so welcome to the club of Recumbent enthusiast


No recumbent are not dangerous, I commute daily with my Low Racer in an urban area (10 miles one way, 10 miles back) I wear hi Vi clothes, flashing LED, And developped surviving habits, never stop bewteen the cars and the curb but in front the Cars lane, always eye contact, never assume the car sees you, so far so good. You know a Low Racer is really something special, so people notice you I can tell. And it is so much fun, ask Anne...


I have an opinion for all you greenies and environmentalists. Ford is an AMERICAN company. I live just a little ways away from where it all started. HENRY FORD hospital did an amazing job to try and diagnose and treat my great uncle with his colon cancer. I worked for a toyota dealership for one year, to learn how to paint cars, and honestly i don't see what all the hype is with the foreign companies. Whenever an american car company has a recall, people make jokes and call us crappy. Toyota lied on the initial mpg on the factory sticker of their 07 prius, and a few months later it was changed. Several customers brought their cars back thinking their was a problem because it was not owning up to the sticker's claim. Several vehicles came in with malfunctioning wiring, which foreign car companies are notorious for. I would much rather drive a MID sized sedan and be comfortable for that 1400 miles, than drive an insight or a prius for 2000 miles and have osteoporosis by the time the trip was over. If you are a 5'5 individual, by all means ride your bikes and drive your clown cars. I am a blue collar man, i load my car with my life, and i drive alot! Im not willing to sacrafice my own comfort and safety for a few more miles out of a gallon. I stand behind the fusion hybrid, because it has the best features as far as interior size and comfort, safety, and fuel economy
that can be combined. Ford is a community company, And i would love to see someone post a list of charities and community events that toyota, honda, or nissan has done in our communities compared to the american companies. Brand loyalty is fine, If the foreign companies did more for my community and my family, then i would be behind them as well but they don't.


There was a local news story about a small city of 25,000 people that extended a $1 million line of credit to local car dealers so that they can make it through the slow down. They did it because of sales tax revenue, but mainly because the dealers did a lot for the local community.



If a car manufacturer do something for the community that's nice but that is not is main goal. The market is extremely competitive so I don't think cars manufacturers have much bandwidth for this kind of distraction. But if you prefer buy a car from Ford because it does some charity stuff that's your choice but I prefer to buy a Prius that does more for the environment and against our addiction to foreign oil than a Ford. And I think a Prius is safer and more confortable than a SUV from Ford (who has a poor record with the Expedition)


It is a personal choice, but I believe that there is some bias in that choice. Ford makes the Fusion hybrid, Toyota makes the Camry hybrid. If you ask most people in southern California which they would choose, they would say Toyota. Many believe that they make the best cars. The ratings by independent agencies say that they are about the same, but bias is there all the same.

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