I’m in the market for a new car, and I’ve been doing hours of research and visiting with dealers. I’m looking for reliability, safety and strong fuel efficiency. I can’t go totally electric because the infrastructure where I live doesn’t exist. So hybrid it is.
I was all ready to write a check to Toyota, and then… the Toyota betrayal. Toyota, joined by GM and Chrysler, announced that it is joining the Trump Administration to fight EPA rules to make cars even more efficient — meeting targets set by California and the states (see below) that care most about cutting climate and air pollution — and protecting all of us.
There are rich ironies here. Generally, conservatives care about protecting states’ rights. So much for that.
Next, Toyota makes the most fuel efficient cars out there — for now. So the company that has sold us on their eco-consciousness is now telling us it cares — except when it is inconvenient, and they see an opportunity to pull back on their ambitions.
My response? I care much more about morals than I do about marketing.
I don’t want to give my dollars to a company that makes lousy moral choices. Further, other automakers are stepping up with new, competitive hybrids. And they aren’t knuckling under to the reported bullying and threats by this administration.
And I’m not alone. Families across the country are feeling this betrayal. As parents, we depend on our cars to get around and get our kids where they need to go. When they’re shopping for a new car, they’ll remember the side that automakers took in this fight.
One friend describes her decision to dump two Priuses after years of being a loyal Toyota customer. “I’m so disappointed,” she writes. Memories run long in this business. It will be years before the VW cheating scandal is forgotten. This move by Toyota feels like a similar betrayal.
We have a moral responsibility to keep our children safe. Safe behind the wheels that we are holding as we drive. But safe, as well, in a larger sense.
We are determined to drive a very large course correction, too. A correction that pulls back on the climate pollution that is causing a global emergency. Car pollution is a huge contributor to this huge problem.
Now the keys are in our hands. We can’t let science deniers and climate deniers pile us into a global wreck.
P.S. It’s not just California’s rights being trampled. State Attorneys General’s from Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin as well as the cities of Los Angeles, New York City, and the District of Columbia have joined California in this fight.