The other day New York Times columnist Tom Friedman put himself squarely in the cross-hairs of Toyota and the rest of the auto industry. Friedman took aim at Toyota for riding the "green wave" with the Prius while at the same time producing ever larger trucks like the Tundra and the new Land Cruiser. He also slammed them for supporting the Hill-Terry fuel economy bill in Congress rather than the more stringent Senate bill that was passed a few months ago. The Michigan congressional delegation got hit in the fire fight as well for defending the interests of their hometown industry. After all, no politician from any other state would ever make short sighted moves to placate the voters in their district, so why should John Dingell (D-MI)?
Toyota and General Motors wasted no time in publicly responding on their respective corporate blogs. Toyota's Communications VP Irv Miller was first up on the Open Road blog and was quickly followed up by Tom Wilkinson of GM on the FYI blog. Both repeated the mantra that even with high mileage vehicles like the Prius available, consumers still continue to demand big powerful cars and trucks. Just increasing the CAFE standards won't do anything to influence demand for larger vehicles. They also responded to Friedman's comments about higher mileage cars being available overseas by reminding him that there is demand driven by high fuel taxes in other countries. Without similar tax changes here to influence demand, CAFE standards will only frustrate buyers by ensuring the vehicles they want are not available.

[Source: AutoblogGreen]

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