It looks like Toyota's time as the automotive darling of the green movement may be at an end as they now become the new whipping boy over CAFE. A group of nine organizations have launched a new web site at TruthAboutToyota.com slamming the Japanese automaker for fighting the fuel economy proposal that was passed by the US Senate last spring. The group consists of organizations like the Union of Concerned Scientists, the NRDC, the US Public Interest Research Group and more. They are also running a full page ad in USA Today accusing the company of duplicity for publicly promoting new technology like hybrids while lobbying Congress to weaken new mileage rules in the background. While much of what the group is saying is true, the fact remains that while Toyota is opposed to the Senate bill, they are supporting the Hill-Terry bill in the House. While the latter bill is weaker than the Senate version it does still increase mileage. Check out the press release after the jump.
TOYOTA: MOVING BACKWARD
National Environmental Groups Expose Toyota's Duplicity on Fuel Economy
Washington, DC – Nine of the nation's leading environmental and science-based organizations targeted Toyota today for the company's opposition to legislation before Congress to set the first meaningful increase in fuel economy standards in nearly 30 years. As the producer of the hybrid Prius and other fuel-efficient vehicles, Toyota has publicly opposed a bipartisan Senate compromise to increase fuel economy standards to 35 miles per gallon fleet wide by 2020. In response, the organizations have sent a letter to Toyota North America Chairman and CEO, Shigeru Hayakawa, asking him to stop the companies lobby efforts to "weaken, delay, or eliminate" meaningful fuel economy standards.
At the same time, the groups will run a full page ad targeting Toyota in USA Today and launch a Web site, TruthAboutToyota.com, to highlight the disconnect between Toyota's public commitment to better technology and higher fuel economy and its efforts behind the scenes to block this important environmental legislation.
"Just because Toyota is taking over General Motor's market share does not mean that Toyota has to take on GM's anti-environmental lobbying practices," said Brendan Bell, Washington Representative for the Union of Concerned Scientists.
The new Web site gives owners of fuel-efficient Toyota vehicles the opportunity to send a letter to Hayakawa expressing their concern with the company's stance on fuel efficiency. In addition, consumers and Prius owners in 15 states will hold rallies at Toyota dealerships to raise questions about the company's opposition to greater fuel economy standards.
"Toyota needs to start living up to its slogan, 'moving forward' instead of driving us backward," said Philip Clapp, President of the National Environmental Trust.
In June, the Senate passed a bipartisan compromise to increase the fleet wide fuel economy of new vehicles to 35 miles per gallon by 2020. When fully implemented, the Senate bill would reduce U.S. oil consumption by 1.2 million barrels per day – more than twice as much as is currently imported from Iraq. It would also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 200 million metric tons per year in 2020; the equivalent of taking over 31 million vehicles off the road every year.
"Being seen as a green automaker has been great for Toyota's sales. The company changed the game by putting hybrid technology on the road. If Toyota expects to keep that image, they should stop lobbying against the strongest fuel economy improvement in over 30 years," said Frances Beinecke, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The letter, the ad and the TruthAboutToyota.com site are supported by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the League of Conservation Voters, the National Environmental Trust, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Friends of the Earth, Conservation Law Foundation and Environment California. For more information please visit