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“Truth in 48” Audi diesel rally embarks from LA to NYC

Hypermiler Wayne Gerdes is leading a team of 12 drivers in Audi TDI diesel vehicles on “Truth in 48,” a bid to drive 2,800-plus miles from the Los Angeles area to New York in 48 hours or less with only 4 refueling stops. The team is driving the 2014 Audi A6 TDI and 2014 Audi A7 TDI sedans (earlier post), with the 2014 Audi Q5 TDI as a support vehicle; the goal is to demonstrate the extended range and fuel economy provided by Audi diesel technology.

The rally departed from the Audi Pacific dealership in Torrance, CA this morning, with plans to conclude the drive at the Audi Manhattan dealership the afternoon of Monday, 9 September.

Throughout the drive, the CleanMPG team will swap seats with members of the media, including Christian Moe of Road & Track, Damon Bell of Consumer Guide Automotive, Jill Ciminillo of Chicago Tribune and Sebastian Blanco of Autoblog Green.

To follow along the “Truth in 48” cross-country drive challenge visit Audi’s Twitter and Facebook pages utilizing the hashtag #audiTDI.



2800 miles / 48 hours = 58 mph average; call it 65 mph with required stops.  At ~700 miles per refueling, this requires a fuel capacity of about 17.5 gallons at 40 MPG, 14 gallons at 50 MPG.

The 2004 Passat TDI could have made this, with its fuel capacity of 18.4 gallons.  The 2013 Ford Fusion Energi could not, because its fuel capacity is roughly 12 gallons, even at 50 MPG, it would need at least 5 fueling stops (including the initial tankful).  In other words, this contest is rigged.


@EP, it isn't rigged, it is designed to show the cars at their best.

+ It isn't 700 miles per refueling, it is 560 (call it 600) as they start with a full tank.

As they are switching in journalist drivers, they won't be able to hypermile and drive at 45mph (the 48 hours precludes this anyway).

My question is how do they sleep - have they got the drivers pre-positioned at stops along they way, or do they sleep in the cars ?

What the Europeans need to do is to do this with all Euro diesel brands and do a big diesel bash, with Merc, BMW, Audi, VW, Opel (GM) and maybe Peugeot as well.

It is a good format, La to NY in 48 hours, 4 stops.

Agree the rules and do the same again next year.
They can include (and log) AC use and number of "comfort stops".

They are trying to prove that diesel gets 30% better mpg than gasoline, which they should do easily on a long run like this.

Nick Lyons

I'm convinced; diesel is an economical choice for long distance auto trips. Since most car buyers are looking for everyday transportation (commuting, city/suburban driving), I'm not sure who is going to be swayed by this demonstration. Hybrids and electrics are better for the stop-and-go city.

I am the exception that proves the rule, however: most of our miles are highway cruising.


Diesel has more carbons per liter compared to gasoline, and more pollution emitting than conventional vehicles.

Really dismayed they dared to go through this pollution emitting trip; if one more people had to sit behind a diesel smelling car that is one such car too many.


If my Fusion Energi had the same fuel capacity as my VW did, it would take this challenge easily.  Unfortunately the tank seems to hold only about 11 gallons, not 18+ (rated at 14 but it's never taken that much).


@EP, IMO, the number of stops is not that important.
If it is 3 or 4 or 5, it is not a problem because you can refuel a liquid fueled car in ~5 minutes, and you have to stop every 3-4 hours anyway.

What is NOT good is having to take a 1 hour stop every 3 hours.
(And find a station that has a supercharger).

What is important here is 2800 miles in 48 hours at > 40mpg (with a mixture of driver types).


The competition requires the vehicles to make the trip on 5 tanks of fuel or less.  That relies as much on tank capacity as fuel economy.  A pure economy competition would measure time and consumption, not stops.

Fred Schumacher

Final results: 2771 miles; A6 43.561 mpg @ 62.44 mph; A7 42.653 mpg @ 62.175; Q5 38.623 @ 61.9. A7 did it in 46 hrs. 9 min. What's interesting about these results is that they all ran around 62 mph, which in my experience is the fastest you can drive and still achieve good fuel economy. Wind resistance really picks up after that.

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