Taking a break from traveling the world’s most dangerous roads for reality TV, Ice Road Truckers star Alex Debogorski is trying to set a new record for cross-Canada fuel efficient driving with the help of two Australians.
Over 12 days, Debogorski will attempt to travel 6,300 km from Halifax to Vancouver on less than six tanks of gas as part of Shell’s Smarter Driver Challenge. Along the way, he will be coached by John and Helen Taylor, two hypermilers who hold 92 world records in fuel efficiency.
“Driving a truck, one of your biggest expenses is fuel,” said Debogorski. “But fuel efficiency is all about patience. You have to be very steady on the throttle and you don’t want to be stomping on the break and then pushing on the gas.”
With all his experience driving, Debogorski is already pretty fuel efficient said the Taylors. But Canadians everywhere could save hundreds of dollars on their gas bill if they adopted some simple techniques, they added.
“The beauty is that is doesn’t matter what you drive,” said Helen Taylor. “Everyone can easily save 10 per cent on their gas.”
Nevertheless, doing so takes practice. After filling up, Taylor recommends zeroing your odometer to keep track of how far you can go on a full tank.
“It becomes addictive and it’s amazing how you improve,” she said.
“Even if your tires are under-inflated by one psi you’re wasting three per cent of your fuel efficiency,” said John Taylor before sharing more tips.
The Taylors also recommend leaving roughly 30 metres breaking distance between other cars, turning off your engine at stop lights and avoiding over revving your engine and carrying extra weight.
“I’m a bad one for that,” said John Taylor, “up until a little while ago I always had my golf clubs in the trunk, but Helen made me take them out.”
What fuel efficiency really comes down to, said Debogorski, is technique.
“If a person practices a technique consciously for a little while it’s not long before your subconscious takes over,” he said. “If you can incorporate two or three techniques, you’ll become more fuel efficient very quickly.”