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Toyota sided with Trump in California fight. Will it pay a higher price than others?

Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Business News

Pollster Matt George said the results should concern Toyota, in particular, because of the negative reaction from younger Toyota owners, those 18 to 34. Four in 10 of those consumers who initially said they would purchase another Toyota said they would consider switching brands over Toyota's stance, a situation that could be more concerning for the automaker because few of those polled (15%) were fully aware of the issue.

Toyota, like other automakers, has said its main focus in siding with the Trump administration is to ensure a single national mileage standard, and that the company is still focused on the environment.

"We do not believe that there should be different fuel economy standards in different states. There should be one standard for all Americans and all auto companies. That is why we decided to be part of this legal matter. Doing so does not diminish our commitment to the environment, nor does it lower our desire to manufacture vehicles that produce fewer emissions year-after-year," according to a statement the company released in October.

The legal fight against California pairs with the administration's effort to roll back planned Obama-era vehicle mileage improvements. That piece is expected to be unveiled before long. On Wednesday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a statement, saying it and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had initiated a key step in the process, a review by the Office of Management and Budget.

"While the draft will not become public until OMB completes the review and the rule is published, EPA and NHTSA firmly believe this rule will benefit all Americans by improving the U.S. fleet's fuel economy, reducing air pollution, helping make new vehicles more affordable for all Americans. And because new vehicles are safer than ever, the standards set by the SAFE Vehicles Final Rule will ultimately save thousands of lives and reduce the number of Americans seriously injured in car crashes. When finalized, this rule will be a win for all Americans," NHTSA said in a statement, about what is termed the Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient Vehicles Final Rule.

 

The administration has argued that its efforts would reduce costs for consumers, making them more likely to buy new safer and more efficient vehicles, an argument disputed by many environmental and consumer advocates.

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