HOUSTON, Nov. 12, 2013 ā€” Wayne Gerdes, a multiple World Record holder for the most fuel-efficient driving, set out to put his fuel efficiency skills and Shell Smarter Driving tips to the test when he hit the road Monday with one tank of fuel in an SUV.

To raise awareness for everyday smarter driving, Gerdes is attempting to travel more than 1,000 miles from Chicago, ILto Austin, Tex. with a single tank of fuel and a roadmap.

Average new car fuel economy is currently estimated at 24.6 mpg1, which means an average 1,000 mile drive would consume a little more than two full tanks of fuel in the average vehicle2. If driving without a fill up was not a big enough challenge, Gerdes is adding another layer of complexity. He is driving an SUV, which traditionally gets lower miles-per-gallon than small- to mid-sized cars due to vehicle size3. Using Shell Smarter Driving tips, Gerdes wants to show how everyday people can stretch their fuel and budget no matter what they drive.

"It's not difficult to improve your fuel efficiency, and it can have a big impact," said Gerdes, "If we all focus a little more on fuel-conscious driving we could collectively help decrease U.S. fuel consumption, and individually see less of a drain on our bank accounts. All it takes is a little planning ahead and using responsible driving habits."

Fuel efficiency can depend on many factors, including some that are outside of your control, like weather conditions, types of roads you drive on and traffic patterns. However, there are steps that can be taken to maximize each tank of fuel. Gerdes is taking personal action to M.A.P. his cross-country challenge following tips from the Smarter Driving program developed by Shell, which includes:

  • Maintenance: Performing smart vehicle maintenance before you drive.
  • Actions: Practicing smart behaviors and actions while you're behind the wheel.
  • Products: Purchasing smart products and services at the right price without sacrificing quality.

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These tips give drivers a roadmap to help get the most out of their fuel purchases, and Gerdes is passionate about spreading awareness to everyday drivers about the ease and importance of fuel efficiency.

Here are the top 10 Smarter Driving tips that Gerdes recommends all drivers take advantage of:

  1. Keep your engine well tuned and repair any problems immediately3. Fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve your mileage by as much as 4%.
  2. Make sure tires are not over or under-inflated3. Proper air pressure cuts down on fuel used while driving. Keeping tires at the correct pressure can improve your gasoline mileage by up to 3%.
  3. Minimize vehicle drag3. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your gasoline mileage by up to 2%.
  4. Drive Smoothly3. Speeding, rapid acceleration and braking can lower your gasoline mileage by 5% at lower speeds around town and by 33% at highway speeds.
  5. Use cruise control on major roads and in free flowing traffic3. Maintaining a constant speed can improve gasoline mileage. Just be careful not to use cruise control on wet roads or when it's raining due to hydroplaning potential.
  6. Avoid Idling3. When you idle, you get zero miles per gallon.
  7. Avoid higher speeds3. Gasoline mileage usually decreases by a significant amount for every 5 miles per hour over the speed limit
  8. Plan your outings to avoid separate trips. Combine your errands into one outing to avoid short separate trips. This helps avoid unnecessary cold starts and keeps your car's engine running warm and more efficiently. Drive to the furthest errand location first as it keeps your car's engine warmer for a longer portion of your trip coming back which improves fuel economy.
  9. Choose a high-quality fuel. Lower quality fuels can leave harmful carbon deposits or "gunk," which can build up on intake valves and fuel injectors. This build-up can negatively impact engine performance, vehicle responsiveness and reduce fuel flow, which can lead to reduced fuel economy.
  10. Use the recommended grade of oil in your engine3. Following your manufacturer's recommended motor oil grade in a high quality synthetic blend can improve gasoline mileage by up to 2%.

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Although Gerdes will only fuel up at the start of his trip, he is scheduled to make rest stops in St. Louis, MO and Dallas,TX on his way to Austin for Austin Fan Fest fueled by Shell weekend. He is documenting his journey on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/wayne.gerdes and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CleanMPG. Drivers can also check out more tips for smarter driving at www.shell.us/smarterdriving.

Source: Shell Oil Company