Toyota breaks ranks, says "yes we can" to 62 mpg target

Perhaps in a bid to distinguish itself from other auto companies and their “just say no” to higher standards, Toyota now says it can do 62 mpg.

According to Hybridcars.com, Jim Colon, Toyota vice president for product communication, made this startling pronouncement came at the Washington D.C. auto show last week:  “Whatever goal [the Obama administration] establishes, Toyota will be prepared to meet. If it's 62 miles a gallon, we'll be able to achieve that.”

Mr. Colon said the new rules “excite” Toyota, and the company is already going in that direction. Toyota recently announced it would be expanding its Prius hybrid lineup to add three new vehicles. It continues to add hybrid models to its other product divisions.

This is in sharp contrast to the industry lobbying group, the Alliance for Automobile Manufacturers, and their recent letters to the new House leadership in which they attacked the feasibility of meeting a 62 mpg target. (Toyota is also a member of the Alliance).

Toyota doesn’t want this to be seen as an official endorsement of 62 mpg. According to Auto News web site: “Martha Voss, another Toyota spokeswoman, said which a carmaker was not endorsing a 62 mpg aim, adding which Toyota considers it too early to pinpoint the figure until studies suggest more information as well as other factors have been considered.”

Toyota appears to be in a hard fought battle to regain its green leadership crown. The title of greenest car has been past to Chevy Volt and Nissan LEAF. Hyundai has already made strong pronouncements it wants to be the greenest company by announcing last year a voluntary 50 mpg fleet target by 2025.

Toyota’s bold pronouncement makes it clear that not only is 62 mpg achievable, but that fuel economy leadership is also smart business.

About the Authors

Roland Hwang

Director, Energy & Transportation program

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