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Public Citizen Responds to Wall Street Journal Editorial on Toyota’s EV Failures

By East Peterson-Trujillo

Re: Targeting Toyota for Its Electric-Vehicle Heresy (June 4, 2023) by the Editorial Board

In “Targeting Toyota for Its Electric-Vehicle Heresy”, the Editorial Board lauds Toyota’s commitment to produce only carbon neutral vehicles by 2050. Yet that goal is far from what is needed to avert climate catastrophe. The International Energy Agency has recommended that sales of internal combustion engine vehicles end by 2035 to meet net zero carbon emissions by 2050 goals. 

Toyota’s investors are wisely voting for transparency from the company around its lobbying activity and for a more independent board. And with EV-curious Toyota customers fleeing to competitors like Ford, Hyundai and Tesla, savvy shareholders like CalPERS and New York City Comptroller have voted in their own self interest in trying to right the company’s course on EVs.

Plus, Toyota seems to forget that the UK, EU, and 8 U.S. states have banned the sale of fossil-fueled vehicles by 2035. Despite its longstanding resistance to a speedy transition to EVs and to cleaning up air pollution–including cheating on emissions testing—Toyota will have to follow those rules. 

At the end of the day, the hybrids Toyota claims will reduce emissions still emit tailpipe carbon pollution, and EVs don’t. To use Toyota’s popular RAV4 hybrid as an example: it emits 284 pounds of CO2 for every time a driver burns through its 14.5 gallon tank. Reduced emissions are still emissions, and they need to be eliminated as fast as possible.

The electric vehicle revolution is here. Toyota should buckle up and hit the accelerator. Our climate—and, increasingly, government policies—demand it.

East Peterson-Trujillo
Washington, DC