Looking Beyond the Commercial

February 18th, 2010 by | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Seeing Toyota’s Prius commercials, which glamorize its innovation in creating a car that helps conserve the environment sure does make us want to own the car.  Yes, Toyota’s Prius is better than many other cars for the environment.  However, we have to look beyond the car itself.  We also need to look inside the company.

At one point, I read somewhere that Toyota actually lobbies AGAINST tougher standards on mileage per gallon!  No, I’m not kidding, despite the fact that Toyota is branding itself as the GREENEST car!  I did some sleuthing, and I found a great column by Thomas Friedman written in 2007 called Et Tu, Toyota? about Toyota lobbying against the highest MPG standards!  According to the article, Friedman states:

“Toyota, which pioneered the industry-leading, 50-miles-per-gallon Prius hybrid, has joined with the Big Three U.S. automakers in lobbying against the tougher mileage standards in the Senate version of the draft energy bill.”

Yes, reading that sentence surely did make my jaw drop.  However, as I read through the article some more, I gained a better understanding of why this is the case.  In order for Toyota to be a leader in the car industry, they have to ensure that other car companies are not better than Toyota; in other words, Toyota does not want other cars to be any greener than their hybrid car.  Of course.  Toyota is more concerned about making the best profits than about the environment.  They created the Prius in order to get a number of environmentalists to buy the car.  It was all about creating something that would meet people’s needs in order to earn money in return.  In the article, it clearly states about Toyota wanting to meet the economic needs:

“Toyota wants to keep its green halo and beat G.M. in the big trucks, too,” said Deron Lovaas, vehicles expert at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “As the world’s largest automaker and inventor of the best-selling hybrid car, Toyota has a responsibility to lead, follow or get out of the way as Congress debates the first substantial fuel-economy boost in decades.”

This is just sad.  Really.  What makes me sadder is that I also learned that other parts of the world are already driving in cars that has much better mileage standards than the U.S.:

“Don’t be fooled. Japan and Europe already have much better mileage standards for their auto fleets than the U.S. They both have many vehicles that could meet the U.S. goal for 2020 today, and they are committed to increasing their fleet standards toward 40 m.p.g. and above in the coming decade. So Toyota, in effect, is lobbying to keep U.S. standards — in 2022 — well behind what Japan’s will be.”

Talk about the different mentalities in other parts of the world!  From my experiences traveling in Europe, I always found that Europeans in general are much more conscious about the environment than the Americans in general.  The U.S. does have a strong cultural value of money.

Since cars are imported from other countries, I can’t understand why those cars could be brought to the U.S. too.  I’m totally perplexed.

It’s also amazing how some corporations like Toyota can be much more powerful than the government.

Life always revolves around objects rather than the well-being of our planet.

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