Tips for Saving Gas on Road Trips

Tips for Saving Gas on Road Trips


Summer is the season of road trips, so now more than ever it’s important to think about what we can do to save fuel on long drives. Follow these tips for saving gas on road trips and come away from your trip with a little extra cash.



A lot of the best ways to save gas are things we’re resistant to. Driving more slowly is a big help—cars get their best mileage at about 60-65 miles an hour, which is conveniently the usual highway speed limit. But if you’re going much above that, you’re going to use more fuel.

Avoiding traffic helps too, since both braking and idling waste a ton of fuel and energy. It’s hard to avoid highway traffic, but you could try driving late at night or early in the morning, when the roads are the least busy.

Before you leave for your trip, make sure your tires are properly inflated and check your engine oil. Bad oil and underinflated tires can increase fuel use. You should also try to pack light—don’t bring more than what you need. Extra weight equals more fuel used.


Of course, you can also look for ways to save money on the fuel you do buy. Use and other sites to find the cheapest gas, and take advantage of deals from hotels you’re staying at and credit card rewards!

Toyota Announces Fellowship Awards for Green Energy Technology

Toyota Announces Fellowship Awards for Green Energy TechnologyToyota has long recognized the importance of investing in green energy. That is why it has announced three fellowship awards for green energy technology as part of the ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship program.

This year’s winners include Professor Elizabeth Biddinger from City College of New York, Professor Joaquin Rodriguez Lopez from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Professor Joshua Snyder of Drexel University.



This fellowship program is in its second year and is a collaboration between The Electrochemical Society (ECS) and Toyota Research Institute of North America. More than 100 young professors and scholars applied for this fellowship. When considering the applications, Toyota looked at projects that focused on viable alternative energy solutions, reducing CO2 emissions, and preventing air pollution.

”With this year’s winners, we were able to further expand on the number of interesting and innovative technologies covered by this Fellowship,” says Fellowship Chair and manager of Toyota’s North American Research Strategy Office, Paul Fanson, in a statement. “While the new projects this year focus on traditional applications such as Li-ion batteries and fuel cells, each project proposes unique solutions to known challenges which may also be instructive in other areas.”

Each fellowship recipient will receive at least $50,000 in grant money to put towards their respective projects over the coming academic year.

August Events near Gastonia

We can’t believe this is already happening, but the summer is nearly over. Just one month, or less, before kids start heading back to school. Before that happens, plan on attending a few of these August events near Gastonia.

  • Joedance Film Festival. This annual film festival not only shows excellent movies, but also supports a great cause—rare pediatric cancer research. This festival takes place August 5th and 6th in Uptown Charlotte’s Fourth Ward.
  • 7th Inning Stretch Festival. This annual festival is hosted by the American Legion World Series as a way to thank the local community for its hospitality. It is free, open to the public, and includes tons of activities. Head to Shelby on August 6th from 10am through 10pm for a day filled with fun.
  • Festival X. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, this festival will include a cornhole tournament, live music, craft beer, food, and outdoor adventures.
  • 80s Back to School Skate Party. Head to Kate’s Skating Rink in Indian Trail on August 21st from 5-8pm. Tickets only cost $10 and include skate rental. There will also be live music and giveaways.

Which end of summer event are you most excited about?

Toyota’s Safety Software to Include Child Models

Toyota doesn’t cut corners when it comes to driver and passenger safety and now the Japanese automaker is making a major improvement to its safety software. Previously, Toyota’s safety software only ran virtual crash simulations with adult occupants. With the latest update, the software will now be able to include child models as well.

Toyota’s Safety Software to Include Child Models

Toyota’s safety software isn’t just used by the automaker themselves. The company also sells the virtual crash test software to other automakers, suppliers, and researchers around the world. That makes including a child model a game changer when it comes to safety.

With the latest update, the software allows for six different models to undergo testing. Old models include a large male, average-built male, and small female. The three new child models include a 10-year-old, six-year-old, and three-year-old, all measured at the average height and weight according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention.

While physical crash tests have used child models for years, virtual tests can be run much faster, allowing for quicker answers. The result is faster answers and adjustments to safety technology like airbags and seat shapes. That means vehicles are about to get much safer for both children and adults.

Here at Toyota of Somerset, we’re happy to see such widely used safety software getting a much-needed update!

Toyota Investing 1 Billion in Guardian Angel Technology

Pretty much ALL the car brands are working on some sort of autonomous driving technology. Technology varies from full-on self-driving cars to active safety technology that assists a human driver.  Toyota is on the bandwagon too. Gill Pratt, the CEO of the Toyota Research Institute, recently announced that they would be investing $1 billion during the next five years on artificial intelligence technology to help improve car safety.


The 2016 Toyota Avalon and the 2016 Toyota Land Cruiser already have some safety features that help drivers avoid collisions with other vehicles and pedestrians. But Toyota has dubbed their new developments as their Guardian Angel technology.

Pratt elaborated that driving a Toyota would be “like a guardian angel, pushing on the accelerators, pushing on the steering wheel, pushing on the brake in parallel with you.”


We can’t wait to see what Toyota has in store!

Car Seat Safety Tips

Car Seat Safety TipsSummer is here and road trips are on the map. However, before you go on those long vacations with the tots in the back seat, you’ll want to review some car seat safety rules to make sure your kids are safe and happy.



Rear-facing is always better

Try to keep your child rear-facing as long as possible—it is actually five times safer than forward-facing, and contrary to popular belief, kids are more likely to have leg injuries sitting forward. Most can stay rear-facing up to 3 years old.

Use the tether

Thanks to innovation, nearly all cars, specifically Toyotas, have multiple anchors for you to tether the car seat. Make sure you use the lower anchors, which keep a sturdy hold on the seat in case you have to stop suddenly.

Remove bulk

Thanks to warmer summer weather, this isn’t too much of a problem, as you won’t have winter coats, but things like blankets or sleeping bags also add bulk. This added bulk keeps the straps from behind completely snug on your child’s body.

Have a professional check it out

Yes, these exist! You can use this website to find trained seat inspectors in your area. When it comes to your children, it is better to be safe than sorry!

Commit to Safer Driving during National Youth Traffic Safety Month

youth traffic safety monthDo you have any teenage drivers at home? If you do, you are probably well aware of the fact that car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers. This information rightly causes any parent to be nervous whenever their son or daughter sits behind the wheel, but there are some things you can do about it.

May is recognized as National Youth Traffic Safety Month, which makes it a great time to help promote safer teen driving.

Here are a few tips from Students Against Violence Everywhere to encourage safer driving among teens. If you have any teen drivers, be sure to share these tips with them.

  • Avoid distractions. Your cell phone can be your biggest enemy while driving; this includes both texting and talking. You should also avoid eating and listening to really loud music while driving.
  • Be a defensive driver. You can’t control the cars around you, so leave enough distance between you and the car in front of you so that if they slam on their brakes, you have enough time to react and stop in time.
  • Wear your seat belt. This is the simplest way to reduce the risk of injury or death during an accident.
  • Drive the speed limit. The faster you go, the more damage you can cause if you get in an accident. Obey the speed limit signs and ease up on the gas.
  • Be a friend. If you are riding with a friend and they are not being safer, speak up. It could save both of your lives. If it becomes an ongoing habit, let them know you don’t feel safe riding with them.

What ways have you found to be the most effective in encouraging safer driving from our teens?

Toyota’s Environmental Leadership Recognized for 12th Year

Toyota’s Environmental Leadership Recognized for 12th YearFor the past 12 years, Toyota has been making a concerted effort to reduce its environmental impact. That effort has been recognized once again and Toyota’s environmental leadership has earned a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star Partner of the Year Award.

“Being named an Energy Star Partner of the Year is a tremendous honor,” said Toyota’s Plant and Environmental Engineering Group General Manager Robin Haugen, in a statement.  “Earning that honor twelve years in a row is testament to the dedication of our team members to reduce our carbon footprint and become an environmental leader in our industry.”

In those 12 years, Toyota has saved over 16 billion kilowatt hours of electricity. That is enough to power nearly 1 million homes in the United States for a year—which is almost the number of households in Arkansas.

Toyota has focused its efforts across its 14 North American manufacturing facilities. Some of the notable energy savings include replacing fluorescent light fixtures with more efficient LEDs, using more efficient HVAC systems, and cutting losses in the compressed air system.

Here at Toyota of Gastonia, we are proud to be part of a company that recognizes the importance of our natural world.

8 Steps to Preparing Your Car for a Car Show

The weather is getting nicer, which means it is getting closer to car show season. If you’re a veteran of the best car shows in the Charlotte area then you don’t need these tips, but if you’re a rookie, you’ll find them a godsend. You don’t want to show up and have your classic Toyota not looking as pristine as it could with so many people potentially checking it out.

8 Tips to Prepping for Car Shows

Use these 8 steps to preparing your car for a car show to make sure you look like a pro at your next show, even if it is your first:

  1. Clean up the the engine and engine housing + undercarriage: You start with this step to help prevent splattering grease or cleaning products on an already clean car. It doesn’t hurt to cover your windows and fenders with a towel too, just to make sure they aren’t hit with degreaser.
  2. Thoroughly wash the car: It seems obvious, but you need to wash the car and not just rinse it off, but really scrub it clean in all the nooks and crannies that might not always get clean. Make sure you use a sponge and cleaning products specifically designed not to damage your “baby.” Start with the tires and then work your way from the top down. #ProTip, wash it in the shade so the soap doesn’t evaporate quickly and leave spots or streaks.
  3. Get a high-quality microfiber towel to dry the car with and only use it for drying the car.
  4. Take care of surface impurities: Get a clay bar or abrasive polish and carefully follow the instructions to ensure no damage is done to the car.
  5. “Wax On” the car: Channel your inner Karate Kid and wax on, in small areas with a thin coat of whatever your favorite product is. Then be sure to Wax Off, in other words buff it with a clean microfiber towel.
  6. don’t neglect to clean the inside: While its true everyone will be more focused on the exterior, plenty of people will wan to look inside the car so make sure it is equally as clean. don’t forget areas like the hinges and door jams on the back of doors. Vacuum out any of the carpet or seats as best you can, then get a car carpet cleaning product to finish the job. If you have vinyl and plastic surfaces, be sure to use warm water and a small amount of mild soap to wipe them down. On other surfaces such as leather, use a product specific to the material.
  7. Windex cures everything: Just kidding, don’t use Windex or other household cleaners like you’re Gus Portokalos. Get something specific to automotive glass and follow any instructions on the bottle.
  8. Devil is in the details: Make sure everything on your car makes sense. If you’re showing off a beautiful old Toyota, try to have Japanese tires that would have been on it at the time it was produced. Don’t replace a part with an updated modern version unless absolutely necessary.

For even more help on prepping for a car show, check out this helpful article.

Toyota Mirai Wins 2016 World Green Car

Toyota is known for its environmentally-friendly cars and has received many national awards, but they receive international awards, too.  The Toyota Mirai FCV was declared the 2016 World Green Car.

2016 World Green Car

The Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle from Toyota was given this award at the 2016 New York International Auto Show. In the U.S. market, the Mirai is currently only available in California, but has sold quite a few already.

“Just as Prius changed the world nearly 20 years ago, the hydrogen-powered Mirai is ready to make history,” said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager, Toyota Division.

Eight cars made it to the consideration for the World Green Car, but the Mirai was the only one to take home the win. It received the honor after factoring in tailpipe emissions, fuel consumption, and use of a major advanced power plant technology.

The Mirai isn’t the only Toyota to earn an honor from The World Car Awards. The Prius has previously earned “Top Three in the World” status for both the World Green Car and the overall World Car of the Year categories. Go Toyota!

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