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. Couple To Drive Round The World With Only 50 Fill-Ups

by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Jan 17, 2006
A British man and his Australian wife set off Tuesday from London in a bid to drive round the world by filling up on petrol less than 50 times in a bid to promote fuel efficiency.

John, 45, and Helen Taylor, 50, drove off in their Volkswagen Golf FSI 1.6 aiming to shun pacy driving, sudden acceleration and sharp breaking on their 70-day road trip across 25 countries covering 28,970 kilometers (18,001 miles).

"We like to show people that in these hard environmental times they can save fuel," Helen Taylor said before leaving for a voyage that will involve up to 14 hours driving a day.

Though equipped with a standard-sized petrol tank, the car will use a new fuel economy petrol by Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell, the main sponsor.

The fuel helps to reduce friction within the engine through a new viscous friction improver, giving increased engine cleanliness and efficiency, according to the challenge's website.

Some of the fuel has already been transferred to depots along the route, while the rest will be flown out to other points of their journey at a later date.

The journey began at 10 am (1000 GMT) at Waterloo Place in London, passing by the Reform Club, where Phileas Fogg's fictional journey began in Jules Verne's novel "Around the World in Eighty Days."

The pair, who already have 34 fuel economy driving achievements under their belt, will have travelled across Europe, Asia, Australia and America by the time they return to London in late March.

"Helen and I are confident that by implementing some simple driving tips for fuel efficiency and using Shell's most advanced fuel, we will be successful in setting a strong record," said John Taylor.

The couple will be accompanied by a crew travelling in two Volkswagen Passat estate cars, including an independent witness, a videographer, a writer and two mechanics.

Equipment in the vehicles includes a GPS tracking system, satellite phones and a plethora of computer equipment as well as safety essentials.

The only breaks in their journey will be when they fly between continents and stop at their home in Melbourne, Australia, to attend their daughter's wedding.

Updates on the couple's mileage and fuel consumption, as well as logs on their progress, will appear online at www.fuelchallenge.com.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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