What did those "Helping Hands" end up doing, push the dang car for a month? Toyota in late May announced its first-ever Prius MPG Challenge pitting non-profits against each other for bragging rights over who could use the least amount of gas driving their Prius Plug-in. With the "wave one" results now in, the winner was New Jersey's Helping Hands Food Pantry, which almost quadrupled the Prius Plug-in's EPA-rated 95 miles per gallon-equivalent (MPGe) rating by getting 356 MPGe over 506 miles. Yes, those food runs to folks in need must've been as short as they were appreciated. For its victory, Helping Hands gets a $2,500 donation from the Japanese automaker in addition to a $200 gas card that will probably take about a year to use.

The MPG Challenge's "wave two" kicked off Wednesday with seven non-profit organizations from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut competeing against each other. Like the first wave, contestants will be required to drive at least 500 miles and 75 miles per week during a 30-day period. More details are available in Toyota's press release below.
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Toyota Partners with Eco-Savvy Influencers on 2013 Prius MPG Challenge

Wave One Winner Helping Hands Food Pantry Hits 356 MPGe, Setting High Bar for New Challengers

WEST CALDWELL, N.J., July 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Building on the success of wave one of the Prius Plug-In MPG Challenge, Toyota today launched wave two of the competition, which brings together seven prolific environmental influencers from N.Y., N.J. and Conn. These ecologically-conscious influencers will borrow Prius Plug-In vehicles and compete against one another to see who can garner the highest overall MPG over the course of a 30-day period.

Toyota also recently announced the first wave winner of the Prius Plug-In MPG Challenge, which launched in May. The Helping Hands Food Pantry, a donation-run group established by a local councilman and minister in Teaneck, N.J., that provides free, supplemental groceries to needy residents, claimed the top spot with an average of 356 MPGe* over 506 total miles driven – 261 MPGe more than the vehicle's official estimated average in EV Mode. As a result of this considerable accomplishment, the Helping Hands Food Pantry will receive a $2,500 contribution for its achievement.

Participants in the second wave of the Toyota Prius Plug-In MPG Challenge include:
• Earth Day New York, a nonprofit organization promoting environmental awareness and solutions through partnerships with schools, community organizations, businesses and government
• EcoKaren, a chiropractor-turned-green-living-consultant and blogger focused on the connection between the environment and health
• Green-4-U, a resource for people who want to know more about green living but do not know where to start
• Green Divas, a radio show and blog offering listeners information on green and sustainable living
• Green Living Guy, author and editor of the "Green Guru" series
• Inhabitat, a blog devoted to the future of design, tracking the innovations pushing architecture and home design towards a smarter and more sustainable future
• New York Green Advocate, a blog authored by environmental activist Paul McGinniss focused around the latest news about the world environment, sustainable living, renewable energy and green building

"As the first wave of the Challenge comes to a successful end, we look forward to an equally spirited competition between our environmental influencers for wave two," said David Christ, general manager of Toyota's New York Region. "The Prius Plug-In MPG Challenge is yet another opportunity for Toyota to demonstrate its commitment to educating drivers on how they can make an ecological difference in this world."

To be eligible to win, participants must drive a minimum of 300 miles total and 75 miles each week. The highest overall MPG according to the Prius' trip computer per 30-day challenge wins a $2,500 donation to the charity of their choice. Second and third place winners also receive charitable donations of $1,000 and $500. All participants will also receive a $200 gas card.

Wave two challengers will document their activity in real-time via social channels, including:
• Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PriusPlugInMPG
• Twitter: https://twitter.com/priuspluginmpg
• Instagram: http://instagram.com/pluginforcharity
*Miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (MPGe) is a measure of the average distance traveled per unit of energy consumed.

About Toyota Toyota (NYSE: TM) established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants. There are more than 1,500 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealerships in the United States, which sold more than 2 million vehicles in 2012. Toyota directly employs over 31,000 in the United States and its investment here is currently valued at more than $19.5 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design. Toyota's annual purchasing of parts, materials, goods and services from U.S. suppliers totals over $27.5 billion.
For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyota.com, www.toyotanewsroom.com or www.toyotainaction.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 13 Comments
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      Corporation pats itself on back in public... more news to follow :)
      Sheepdog 44
      • 1 Year Ago
      Correction: 356 MPG. MPG is a measure of fuel consumption not efficiency. They consumed 1 gallon in 356 miles which is correct. MPGE is a measure of efficiency (electric, gas or combined etc.). They did not use the equivalent of 36.6kwh in energy to travel 356 miles. The Plugin Prius has a 95mpge rating on electricity, so it's mpge efficiency can never be reasonably higher that. They most likely used one gallon of gas, and a lot of unaccounted for electricity. Only the Edison2 has an efficiency of 356MPGE running on electricity. It's important to not to let Plugin hybrids conflate their efficiency.
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Sheepdog 44
        It is possible to exceed the EPA rated MPGe, just as it is possible to exceed EPA rated MPG on a regular car. You just have to hypermile the heck out of the car. Drive slow, etc. 356MPGe maybe is possible, but it's hard to tell if this really was MPGe or MPG from the story.
          Sheepdog 44
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rotation
          Yes, it's possible, though highly unlikely. To triple the MPGE of an already efficient electric drivetrain, They'd have to have crawled along at 15mph. I think it's fantastic that plugin vehicles can achieve fantastic fuel consumption, displacing so much foreign oil with electricity from the grid with a relatively small battery pack. It's a very good solution towards energy independence in the United States. But it's a very common thing (among many websites) to confuse gas consumption with efficiency. A Volt can go 1,000 miles using only one gallon of gas and a lot of electricity, but saying a Volt gets 1,000mpge is physically impossible. A plugin Supercar or SUV can achieve the same oil consumption as a Volt, but still be far less efficient. It's a semantic point really, but a vital one. MPGE is a factor in how big (and expensive) your battery needs to be. The Aptera for example would need half the battery size to go the same distance as a Volt on electricity.
          Sheepdog 44
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rotation
          It's a very minor mistake completely unrelated to the article. I just thought i'd bring it to attention for future reference as i see this mistake made a lot on many automotive articles and websites.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 1 Year Ago
      From the winning team's FB post: "Helping Hands Food Pantry recorded an awesome 356 mpg to outpace 5 other challengers in the Toyota Prius Plug-in MPG Challenge and take home first place honors! But how can you possibly squeeze 356 miles from a gallon of gas? After all, it's an incredible number even for the high-tech and miserly Prius Plug-In (50/95 mpg/mpge - EPA rated). No tricks were involved. Instead, it was a lot of good ol' fashioned effort (and some hardship) from all involved at Helping Hands Food Pantry that made the triple digit mileage possible. The mission was serious. "We stopped greeting each other in the hallways, and went right to 'how many miles, what's the mpg at?'," recalled Janice Preschel, Director at Helping Hands during the announcement ceremony yesterday. In fact, every usage and movement involving the car was planned out meticulously. Routes were kept as short as possible. Interior lights were turned off to conserve battery. A/C was definitely a no-no, even on the hottest of June days. And of course, there was a lot of charging involved. Helping Hands took full advantage of the Prius Plug-In's full Electric Vehicle capability and plugged in to charge up whenever the Prius wasn't in use. That meant that gas usage was almost non-existent. In fact, as Janice recalled, "We filled up the Prius for the first time when we were returning the car... I told the attendant to 'fill it up', and he came back with a receipt for seven dollars and change. That was the only gas we used in 4 weeks!" That's right, Helping Hands spent under $8 in gas for the 506 miles they logged collecting food donations from over 30 trips! The money saved allowed Helping Hands to use it to help even more residents of their Teaneck, NJ community. As winners in the MPG Challenge, Toyota is contributing $2,500 that will "make a huge difference" for even more of those in need."
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        So they obviously aren't including the electricity they used in their mpge figures... Mr. King, you should correct your article to point out this is "MPG" (total miles per gallon of gasoline purchased) and not actually "MPGE".
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          My complaint is more with the headline, which ABG editors certainly read and approved. I defended Mr. King the other day. This time, he should correct a blatant error.
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          The press release says MPG in every place except one. But in that one place it says MPGe and even defines it. So I can't tell what happened. If this is MPG and not MPGe, why didn't anyone get infinite mileage?
      goodoldgorr
      • 1 Year Ago
      they could have done 357 mpge with a little effort. damm i don
      VL00
      • 1 Year Ago
      Uhh, your math is way off. They didn't change the MPGe, they simply didn't use much gas. And MPGe is such a contrived calculation, its meaningless.
      MTN RANGER
      • 1 Year Ago
      Meanwhile some Volt owners get 1000+MPG and all Leaf owners get infinity MPG.
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      So I'd like to see his/her driving profile. Did they just drive 5 miles to work at 15mph?
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