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NRDC Targeting Toyota on CAFE Stance

The National Resources Dense Council (NRDC) recently launched a campaign to have consumers pressure Toyota on its opposition to the proposed increase in CAFE standards to 35 mpg by 2020 that is currently under consideration in Congress.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (of which Toyota is a member) supports a different legislative proposal (Hill-Terry) that would maintain separate standards for cars and light trucks, and would establish a minimum of 32 mpg and a maximum of 35 mpg combined average by 2022.

As the world’s largest automaker and inventor of the best-selling hybrid car on the market, Toyota has a responsibility to lead, follow or get out of the way as Congress debates the first substantial fuel-economy boost in decades.

—Deron Lovaas, vehicles campaign director at NRDC

After less than two weeks, Toyota Headquarters has received more than 8,150 messages demanding an explanation for the company’s stance on fuel economy. NRDC offers an on-line message form.

For the first three quarters of 2007 (January-September), Toyota sold 144,480 full-size Tundra pickups; it sold 137,114 units of the Prius hybrid. In September 2007, sales of the Tundra climbed 55% year-on year to 19,571; sales of the Prius climbed 19% to 12,494.

Comments

Harvey D

Toyota could produce hybrid Corrola, Matrix and RAV4 with Prius drive system to lower their fleet average fuel consumption by about 5 mpg and gain another 10% in total sales.

Better yet, Toyota could come out with 2 or 3 PHEVs within about 2 to 3 years. We all know that PHEVs could reduce fuel consumption even more.

I don't think that we should worry about Toyoya's (fleet) fuel consmption. It is one of the lowest and will probably remain there.

Though the NRDC is right to pursue this and Toyota would be wise to embrace it. We all know a new world is coming in which the oil is scarcer and the climate changes have brought about a new legislative terrain. The best thing for any company to do when given such ample fair warning is to demonstrate it does not fear this future, and simply take ownership of the direction, rather than deny it is coming and send out the PR department to play charades. They need to forget about the short term for a minute. What is, environmentally, experientially, the best car that can be made now, for this market? How do those cars get made, as soon as possible?

If they arrive at the other end of that risk, surviving, then everyone else in the industry who remains will be following their lead. Toyota is already the demonstrated leader in fuel economy. The risks here are very low for them. This is an opportunity to go in a direction much bigger than this one issue.

Roger Pham

Toyota's rationale for going along with the "Alliance" instead of opposing it may has to do with the Japanese tradition of group conformity. Besides, Toyota will have more to gain without the CAFE standard than with it, because they will continue to produce high-mpg vehicles whether or not CAFE standard and will have the potential to outsell the competitions, while others may slack off unless directly receiving pressure.

Jonathan Trenn

There's an online petition that just started up (and I'm part of the group that's trying to push things forward). It's in support of the Energy Bill that was passed, which gives car companies a dozen years to upgrade their CAFE standards to 35 MPG.

We've got it here at www.energybill2007.us

Hopefully your readers will be in support of this. To me, it's important.

Chris Abraham

Jonathan, your link doesn't work -- does this work? www.energybill2007.org

Jonathan Trenn

Yes, that's better. Thanks!

JOSH TIFFANY

When the new Cafe standards pass. I will make it a point to drive more...not less...as I will be in a more fuel efficent car allowing me to go further on the same dime...end result- no fuel savings...this whole debate is a farce!

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