Toyota Obligated to Help Solve Global Warming

By: Jenny Mclane

Toyota Motors North America President Jim Press will tell a House committee this Wednesday that the auto industry has "an obligation to be part of the solution, not the problem," when it comes to global warming and climate change. This statement was taken from the draft of Press' testimony.

The president of the company will join the top executives of other renowned automakers - General Motors Corp., the Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group. Ron Gettelfinger, the UAW president, will join the top executives before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee, which is considering whether to or not they would force automakers to radically raise fuel efficiency standards of vehicles to reduce tailpipe emissions which have been linked to global warming.

Press' drafted testimony will reiterate Toyota's support for raising corporate average fuel economy mandates. "Toyota has long been mindful of and accepts the broad scientific consensus that climate change is occurring and will continue unless there are significant and coordinated global efforts to slow the growth of man-made greenhouse gas emissions," Press's testimony says. Toyota is "committed to continued action to address climate change by increasing the fuel efficiency of our products."

Press, in the prepared testimony, endorses "increased reliance on mass transit" as part of reducing the impact of automobiles. Press' draft continues, "In-use impacts from the existing fleet of vehicles can be reduced through a series of measures. For example, smarter land-use planning, increased reliance on mass transit and greater use of so called 'intelligent transportation systems' can all reduce traffic congestion and energy consumption."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released an analysis last 13 December. According to the NHTSA, the four percent increase starting on September 2009 for passenger cars and September 2011 for light trucks would cost the auto industry $114 billion between the years 2010 and 2017. In the said analysis, Detroit's Big Three would assume the lion's share of the cost - $85 billion. This is because they have larger, less-efficient fleets.

Press's draft says over the last decade, Toyota vehicles sold in the United States consumed 11 billion fewer gallons of gasoline than "if we had merely met fuel economy standards. These same vehicles will emit over 100 million metric tons less of CO2," as he says in his prepared draft. Press also will tackle about the tenth anniversary of the Toyota Prius. The gasoline-electric hybrid of the automaker also features refined parts like , battery, vacuum flask, internal combustion engines and EV Mode. Through January, Toyota has sold 472,000 hybrids in the United States.

Press will stress in his statement that Toyota is "aggressively pursuing" plug-in hybrid technology. Hybrids still account for only 2 percent of total U.S. auto sales. In February, just 10 percent of Toyota's U.S. sales were hybrids. Press will call also on Congress to quash the per-manufacturer cap on hybrid tax credits, set at 60,000 vehicles. As of April 1, it drops to a 25 percent tax credit and in October it will expire wholly.

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