The Prius Plug-in Hybrid is well regarded in the West Coast, but if anyone had any doubts, it’s appreciated in the Northeast as well, and today in Caldwell, N.J. Toyota began its first MPG Challenge to raise further awareness in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
“We see the MPG Challenge as a way to make environmental education fun,” said David Christ, general manager of Toyota’s New York Region. “By tapping regional organizations, we’re able to engage at a local level while demonstrating the Toyota Prius Plug-In’s ability to improve the lives of our fellow community members.”
The participating regional organizations (listed below) will attempting to maximize mileage on a plug-in Prius’ on-board mpg computer readout. The MPG Challenge will see five separate waves of competition, Toyota says, and up to eight challengers will participate over a 30-day period.
The first wave of challengers get their loaned cars today and must drive 500 miles minimum, and 75 miles each week.
Top prize will mean a $2,500 contribution to environmentally-conscious, charitable organizations in New York, New Jersey and/or Connecticut. Second place receives a $1,000 contribution, and third wins $500. All participants will receive a $200 gas card.
The first wave of ecologically-conscious organizations participating as MPG Challengers includes:
- The Greyston Foundation, a Yonkers, N.Y.-based network of for-profit and not-for-profit entities providing life services and work opportunities to low-income individuals and families, including the bakery that exclusively supplies brownies to Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.
- Greater Mercer TMA, a nonprofit, public private partnership dedicated to reducing traffic congestion, decreasing air pollution and improving mobility in and around Mercer and Ocean County, N.J.
- Bloomfield College, an independent, four-year college in Bloomfield, N.J., that prepares students to attain academic, personal and professional excellence in a multicultural and global society.
- RYASAP, a Bridgeport, Conn.-based nonprofit that serves as a catalyst in communities to ensure the safe and healthy development of youth, young adults and families.
- The Center of United Methodist Aid to the Community Ecumenically Concerned Helping Others (CUMAC/ECHO), which works to alleviate hunger and its root causes in Paterson, Passaic County and northern N.J.
- Glamourgals, a national organization that creates teen volunteer chapters providing companionship and complimentary beauty makeovers to women living in senior homes.
- 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.
Challengers will document their activity in real-time via social channels, including:
By the completion of the MPG Challenge, Toyota expects to have contributed $20,000 in total to the participating charitable organizations.