Americans are concerned about high gas prices, the environment and our dangerous dependence on foreign oil. An increase in fuel economy standards—making sure new autos get more miles to the gallon—could help Americans save money at the pump, reduce global warming pollution, and enhance our national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil. So, it is disturbing to hear Toyota talking out of both sides of its mouth when it comes to increasing fuel economy.
Supported by the sale of its Prius hybrid, Toyota has carefully crafted a “green” image. But what Toyota doesn't talk about is the battle it is waging against the first meaningful increase in U.S. fuel economy in 30 years. The company is also fighting efforts in states across the country, such as California's Pavley clean cars law, that would reduce those states' global warming pollution. It is clear: when it comes to being green, Toyota talks the talk, but doesn't walk the walk.
Click here to read the Coalition's rebuttal to Irv Miller, Group Vice President, Corporate Communications of Toyota
What they claim: Toyota's corporate website claims the company will “actively promote countermeasures to global warming, the most serious of the world's environmental issues.”
The truth is: Despite the fact that Toyota's own corporate website warns against the dangers of global warming—calling it “the most serious of the world's environmental issues”—two major auto trade associations of which Toyota is a member are suing to stop California's new law to reduce global warming pollution. Toyota says it recognizes the problem, but it doesn't want to be part of the solution.
At least 13 states are following California's lead in adopting standards that would reduce global warming pollution from new cars. Toyota's trade associations oppose them all.
What they claim: Toyota has spent millions of dollars on ads to position itself as a leader in cutting global warming pollution.
The truth is: Toyota says it has cut polluting emissions from its autos. What the company fails to say is that its fleet-wide global warming pollution is higher today than it was 20 years ago. And now it is attempting to block efforts to raise fuel economy standards that would cut more than 200 million metric tons of global warming pollution in 2020 alone.
What they claim: Toyota tells consumers and investors it is making great strides in fuel economy.
The truth is: Toyota has used its Prius to create a corporate image based on innovation and environmental consciousness. But as National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) data shows, Toyota's current fleet-wide fuel economy is lower today than it was 20 years ago around the time CAFE standards were last increased.
While the Prius is a step in the right direction, Toyota is playing a game of one step forward and two steps back. Some other hybrids made by Toyota may not increase fuel economy at all, fooling consumers into believing they are buying an environmentally-friendly car. Reporter Jeff Sabatini wrote in the New York Times:
“ONE question lingers after driving the 2006 Lexus RX 400h: How did it come to this, that Toyota is now selling a hybrid gas-electric vehicle with no tangible fuel economy benefits?
In my test-driving, the Lexus hybrid, which is based on the gasoline-only RX 330, did not achieve better mileage than the 2005 RX 330 that I drove for comparison...
...the RX 400h's failure to deliver, in my experience, even a nominal improvement in gas mileage still seems like a sin of omission.”
New York Times, 7-30-2005
What they claim: Toyota recently spent millions of dollars on an ad campaign across 24 media markets to tout its contributions to America.
The truth is: As gas prices soar and our country becomes more and more dependent on foreign oil from politically unstable regions, Toyota is actually lobbying against efforts in Congress to pass a meaningful increase in fuel economy standards. Three of Toyota's “contributions” that you won't see touted in these ads are higher gasoline costs for working families, more global warming pollution and less security for Americans.