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Deron Lovaas’s Blog

'Et Tu, Toyota?'

Deron Lovaas

Posted October 3, 2007

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Columnist Tom Friedman picked up on Toyota's fuel economy hypocrisy in this morning's New York Times. 

Here's an interesting passage:

'Toyota, which pioneered the industry-leading, 50-miles-per-gallon Prius hybrid, has joined with the Big Three U.S. automakers in lobbying against the tougher mileage standards in the Senate version of the draft energy bill. Now why would Toyota, which has used the Prius to brand itself as the greenest car company, pull such a stunt? Is it because Toyota wants to slow down innovation in Detroit on more energy efficient vehicles, which Toyota already dominates, while also keeping mileage room to build giant pickup trucks, like the Toyota Tundra, at the gas-guzzler end of the U.S. market?

Don’t be fooled. Japan and Europe already have much better mileage standards for their auto fleets than the U.S. They both have many vehicles that could meet the U.S. goal for 2020 today, and they are committed to increasing their fleet standards toward 40 m.p.g. and above in the coming decade. So Toyota, in effect, is lobbying to keep U.S. standards — in 2022 — well behind what Japan’s will be.

Hey, Toyota, if you are going to become the biggest U.S. automaker, could you at least bring to America your best practices — the ones that made you the world leader — instead of prolonging our worst practices?'

You can read the entire column here.

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Aaron LinfordOct 4 2007 10:49 AM

I don't see how environmentalists can be so blind. Toyota only nearly meets this 2020 standard because their SUV/Truck sales do not compare to the domestic sales. They are looking to get in that market, which is why it would be impossible to maintain their strides toward a CAFE of 35mpg.

Why is it so terrible to make 1 standard for cars and another for trucks/SUVs? You can make the car CAFE 40mpg for all I care, but 35mpg for a full size truck is impossible, unless you sacrifice capability (which our customers would lynch us for). Take an engineering class and you would know this.

Deron LovaasOct 4 2007 11:31 AM

Aaron, I assume you work for an automaker (the phrase "our customers" implies that).

I urge you to actually read the bill which passed the Senate, because it makes allowances for differences in vehicle size. Structurally, the program could include two or even more categories, addressing your concern.

That offers ample flexibility for automakers.

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