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Environmentalists slam Toyota for lobbying for lower CAFE standards

by Drew Johnson

Several environmental groups are pressuring Toyota to cease lobbying for a less stringent CAFE bill proposed in the House of Representatives and have even started a web site, . The current proposed bill calls for a 35 mpg fleet average by 2020, with Toyota -- along with domestic automakers -- supporting a bill calling for 32 mpg for light trucks and 35 mpg for cars by 2022.

According to Automotive News, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, the National Environmental Trust and other organizations have already sent a letter to Shigeru Hayakawa, president of Toyota North America, saying that Toyota has an obligation to support stricter legislation because it produces the Prius, the best-selling hybrid on the market.

"Unfortunately, Toyota's recent lobbying in the U.S. Congress is inconsistent with its global reputation an environmentally and socially responsible company," the groups said.

Toyota feels that the proposed standards are not economically viable and that its cars already out-pace government standards. "We have been an industry leader in fuel efficiency, consistently surpassing federal government standards," said Josephine Cooper, Toyota's top lobbyist.

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