Toyota is making the news again, and not for a good reason– the Japanese automaker recently sided with several others to oppose better MPG standards for gasoline-powered vehicles in the U.S. While it has been paying lip service to the environmentally conscious and touting its own dedication to the electrification of its fleet, such actions show that it is not as dedicated to change as we may have once thought. As Toyota sides with Donald Trump against higher industry standards and its own emissions levels increase rather than decrease, is it even possible to believe the company’s ‘commitment’ to an electrified future?
Toyota Sides With Trump in Emissions Fight
A lawsuit filed by the Environmental Defense Fund against the Trump administration seeks to prevent the White House from rolling back national pollution and gas mileage standards enacted by the previous president. Trump had decided to revoke California’s congressionally-granted authority to set stricter emissions standards than what is issued on a federal level, favoring businesses over the health of the country’s environment and its citizens.
Deciding to throw their own weight into the ring, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota, and a trade association known as the Association of Global Automakers sided with Trump against the state. They back a plan to have a “reasonable, achievable” national standard that freezes the emissions requirements in 2021 until 2025, rather than pushing automakers to continue to decrease it over time.
Trump says this will reduce the average sticker price of new vehicles by about $2,700 by 2025. Environmental groups calculate that the owner of a 2026 vehicle will end up paying $3,300 more for gasoline over the vehicle’s lifetime if standards are frozen in 2021.
Fuel Economy Decreases, Emissions Increase
“Toyota is passionate about the environment and reducing our impact,” the company said in a recent statement clearly meant to be an attempt at damage control.
If so, then why are the vehicles they produce not reflecting this? According to a recent study completed by the EPA, out of 13 large manufacturers examined, Toyota was the only one to show a decrease in estimated real-world fuel economy and increased CO2 emissions between 2012 and 2017.
Such data certainly seems to be at odds with a company that is so ‘dedicated’ to the environment. They may be a leader in the sale of hybrid vehicles that at least partially rely on fossil fuels, but the company has shown little to no interest in developing all-electric vehicles. Why should they, when gas-powered trucks and SUVs are the darlings of the American market?
The gig is up, Toyota. Your interests lie in fattening your wallet, not in helping humanity towards a more sustainable future.