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Alex Debogorski is trading in his 1974 Fleetwood Cadillac for a 2012 Toyota Camry, similar to the car on the left, June 11 as he and a team of drivers aim to set the record for the most fuel-efficient drive across Canada. - Miranda Scotland/NNSL photo

Start your engines
Ice road trucker to drive across Canada in Smarter Driver Challenge

Miranda Scotland
Northern News Services
Published Monday, June 11, 2012

Local celebrity Alex Debogorski is trading in his 1974 Fleetwood Cadillac for two weeks as he and a team of drivers set the record for the most fuel-efficient drive across Canada.

As part of the Smarter Driver Challenge, Debogorski will travel from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Vancouver, B.C. with help from John and Helen Taylor, who are billed as the world's most fuel-efficient couple. This will be the first time anyone has worked to set a record for the most fuel-efficient drive from these two points.

Debogorski will make the trip starting today in a 2012 Toyota Camry but don't expect to see him driving around Yellowknife in it.

"You're more environmentally-friendly just by fixing your old car," said the reality television star, adding he wouldn't be buying a fuel-efficient vehicle anytime soon.

"I've got a 150 vehicles in my yardŠ I basically put them back on the road and fix them. I protect the environment that way, plus it keeps things moving around more interesting instead of all being one bland, shiny, modern looking thing. When I drive down the road in this car and you're boyfriend goes by in his $80,000 Dodge the girls still look at me in this car."

Helen Taylor said that no matter what car someone has they can always take steps to make their drive more fuel-efficient.

"There's nothing about it that's difficult. There is no rocket science but really it's about even before you start driving, even before you get in the car it's about preparation," she said, adding people will get better fuel-economy if they avoid unnecessarily overloading their trunk and roof racks.

Taylor also suggested that drivers plan their route before leaving, avoid breaking too much and that they should drive close to the speed limit.

"We don't ever slow the traffic down but we find that a lot of drivers instead of driving on the speed limit or just under they tend to fly past you and they're usually the ones that complain about how much gas they use," she said.

A team of drivers, including the Taylors and a 17-year-old from Whitehorse, will join Debogorski on the 12-day trip, which is sponsored by Shell. Debogorski said he expects it will be a good ride but he's not too excited about it.

"This is part of my job, being a celebrity is another job," he said. "So I'll go out there and try and do a real good job of it. I'll try and get the best mileage possible and see if I can come up with a couple new jokes and give a few people laughs, sign a few autographs, give everybody the stimulus package that gets close enough to me to get tickled and everything will be good."

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