Leading Environmental, Advocacy Groups Call on National Highway Traffic Safety Association and Environmental Protection Agency to Investigate Toyota Emissions and Fuel Economy Cheating

Ahead of Toyota’s Annual General Meeting, organizations call for NHTSA to investigate Hino, a subsidiary of Toyota, for emissions cheating in the US after cheating was found in Japanese trucks

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, six major environmental organizations representing millions of members and supporters sent a letter (linked here) to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) to work with the Department of Justice to investigate Toyota for violations related to falsifying diesel engine performance and fuel economy data. In March of 2022, Hino, Toyota’s truck subsidiary in Japan, admitted to falsifying diesel engine performance and fuel economy data in 115,000 trucks and buses.The letter calls upon NHTSA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to investigate whether any of these trucks were sold or intended for sale in the U.S and whether Toyota has engaged in similar falsification of data submitted to these agencies. 

“We need EPA and the Transportation and Justice Departments to determine whether Toyota’s cheating on pollution tests is jeopardizing not only Japan’s environment and Japanese health but our own as well. We call on Toyota to respect the law and act responsibly,” said Dan Becker, Director, Safe Climate Transport Campaign at the Center for Biological Diversity.

This deceit follows Toyota’s recent Clean Air Act violations for systematic failure over ten years to report defects that interfered with pollution controls on vehicles sold in the United States. The company has shown a marked hostility to stronger auto pollution standards, teaming up with other automakers to urge Donald Trump to derail the 2012 auto emissions and CAFE rules they helped negotiate. Since then, Toyota sided with the Trump Administration in litigation to overturn California’s Clean Air Act authority. Last year the automaker lobbied to weaken environmental safeguards while opposing EV purchase incentives.

“Toyota’s Dieselgate deserves a firm response from all regulators,” said Eoin Dubsky, senior campaign manager at SumOfUs.

The letter comes on the eve of Toyota’s annual shareholder general meeting. When the cheating scandal was announced this spring, Toyota shares fell 6.5%. Toyota shares recently dropped 2% following environmental criticism of the company. 

Air pollution from burning fossil fuels kills 8.7 million people each year. When Toyota lies and cheats its way past air pollution rules, it’s not just breaking the law — it’s killing people. We need to get to the bottom of whether Toyota’s conduct applied to vehicles in the US. If so, the company and its executives should be held accountable here — including prosecution for crimes if applicable,” said David Arkush, managing director of Public Citizen’s Climate Program.

“Toyota has a track record of pollution and acts as if regulations don’t need to be followed. For years, the automaker has shamelessly positioned itself as the laggard on vehicle electrification and has now admitted to cheating diesel emissions tests. It would be unacceptable for the EPA and NHTSA to ignore this scandal given Toyota’s support of weak environmental safeguards. The agencies should fully investigate Toyota’s violation of our clean air and climate standards,” said Katherine García, director of the Sierra Club’s Clean Transportation for All campaign. 

Organizations signatories to the letter include: 

  • Center for Biological Diversity
  • Public Citizen
  • Sierra Club
  • SumOfUs
  • Sunrise Project

You can read the letter here.