In contrast with the leading automotive trade group, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Toyota Motor Corporation has expressed support for the Obama administration’s proposal to significantly raise fleet-wide fuel-economy standard of 47 mpg by 2017. The administration has proposed raising the fuel-economy standard to 62 mpg by 2025.
Speaking at the Washington auto show on Thursday, Toyota’s vice president for product communications Jim Colon said the Obama administration’s goal of formalizing the new standards as early as the summer of 2012 “excites us.” He went on to say, “That’s the direction Toyota is already going. Whatever goal they establish, Toyota will be prepared to meet it,” he said. “If it’s 62 miles a gallon, we’ll be able to achieve that.”
Toyota spokeswoman Martha Voss said that Toyota’s attitude toward the administration’s proposal is not an endorsement of the actual fuel-efficiency numbers. She said more studies need to be completed and other factors need to be considered before arriving at a specific fuel-economy standard.
Colon’s comments were in stark contrast with the position of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, of which Toyota is a member. Other members include Volkswagen AG, Ford Motor Company, General Motors Company and Chrysler Group.
The Alliance said that the administration’s plan, which was announced last October, was “based on very preliminary and incomplete data at this point, and inevitably will change.” In early January, the Alliance complained to House Republicans that the Obama administration’s proposal “may underestimate technology costs to automakers and overstate fuel savings to consumers.”
On Thursday, Alliance spokeswoman Gloria Berquist said, “We all want to put the most fuel-efficient vehicles as possible on the road, but for the 2017 rulemaking, policymakers still need to gather and analyze much data to determine the maximum feasible fuel economy standards that avoid negative impacts on affordability, safety, jobs and vehicle choice,” and added, “No one knows what the 2025 target should be yet, and the data needs to drive the rulemaking.”
Earlier this month the White House announced that new fuel-efficiency targets will be proposed by both the federal government and the state of California before September 1. The EPA, U.S. Department of Transportation, the state of California, environmental groups and automakers endorsed the administration’s 2012-2016 fuel economy standard which requires automakers to increase the average fuel-efficiency of their vehicles to 35.5 mpg by 2016.
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