It may be the automaker that has given us the Prius, but Toyoto is coming under attack from green groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, who are challenging Toyota’s opposition to strict fuel economy standards pending in Congress.
It is a position the Japanese company shares with General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.
“They have a green halo, justifiably, and yet unbeknownst to their customers they’ve joined forces with the Detroit Three to argue against greener standards,” said Deron Lovaas, the NRDC’s vehicles campaign director.
During the past two weeks, about 8,300 NRDC activists sent e-mails and faxes to Toyota urging the company to support a Senate energy bill that would set a 35-mile-per-gallon requirement by 2020.
Other environmental groups, such as the Union of Concerned Scientists and the National Environmental Trust, are mobilizing to challenge Toyota for supporting a more modest approach on so-called CAFE standards that would require 32 to 35 mpg by 2022.
“They market every night the Prius and the Toyota Camry – we’re the green car, huh? Then watch the football games, and they’re marketing the Toyota Tundra – like the biggest vehicle ever made,” Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., a Camry hybrid owner, said last week. “We’re actually going to name the vehicle the Tundra, after the thing that’s being destroyed in Alaska,” he said. “How ironic.”
How ironic indeed.