Cross-country trip an exercise in fuel efficiency 0
Garry Sowerby (right) and his wife Lisa Calvi (left) are embarking on an eight-day journey from Vancouver to Halifax, trying to break the record for using the least gas possible to traverse the country. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
Garry Sowerby is going the distance — from Vancouver to Halifax over the next eight days hoping to snatch the record for the most fuel-efficient drive across Canada.
His secret weapon? A 2014 Chevrolet Cruze, a diesel-powered vehicle that boasts highway fuel consumption of 4.2 litres per 100 kilometres, supported by the prevailing winds behind him.
The previous record was set by a Volkswagen Passat during the Shell Smarter Driver Challenge at just above 5.5 litres per 100 kilometres.
But Sowerby — a four-time world distance driving record holder who lives in Nova Scotia — said they had to battle the winds by marking the start line in Halifax.
So, rather than start at home, he decided to come to Vancouver’s Stanley Park to kick off his trek instead.
“We tried to pack as light as we could. (My wife) Lisa only took two pairs of shoes,” he said Thursday at Brockton Point.
“We’ll stay in small towns and we’ll stay in roadside motels. The luxury we bought last night was two feather pillows. Not to take anything away from mom-and-pop roadside motels but their pillows aren’t all that great.”
Sowerby, on vacation from his day job as the owner of an event-planning company, expects to be on the road for 12 hours daily, anticipating his arrival in Halifax on Aug. 30.
His love for long drives began while growing up in Moncton, N.S. — a smaller, less exciting place compared to the big cities of Boston, Toronto and Montreal.
“So when I grew up, road trips were a big part,” Sowerby said.
His first record as the fastest driver to go around the world was achieved in 1980 — a feat repeated in 1997.
In 1984, he was the fastest person to travel from Africa’s southern tip to Scandinavia. Three years later, he beat the record for the fastest drive from South to North America.
“This is my payback for all the fuel I’ve squandered over the years,” Sowerby joked.
To spice up interest in the “boring” topic of fuel consumption, the couple will be interviewing three people daily as they go coast-to-coast.
Their trip will be documented on driving.ca.