AJC Energy Letter in International Herald Tribune

International Herald Tribune

October 6-7, 2008


American fuel efficiency

It is distressing that Toyota has joined the opposition to raising fuel efficiency standards in the United States. (“Et tu, Toyota” by Thomas Friedman, Views, Oct. 3).  But equally disturbing is the current lack of incentives to encourage American consumers to purchase hybrid cars.


Car manufacturers typically charge several thousand dollars more for hybrid models. Toyota’s suggested retail price for a hybrid Camry, for example, is nearly $7,000 more than a standard model.


The once-heralded federal tax credit for hybrid cars is phasing out. Though it was a bona fide incentive, after a manufacturer sold 60,000 eligible vehicles, a milestone Toyota achieved last year, the credit was significantly cut and totally expired as of this past Monday.


These are a couple of reasons why hybrids have grabbed less than 2 percent of the U.S. market. Government leadership, in partnership with car manufacturers, is urgently needed to encourage a shift in consumer thinking.


Kenneth Bandler

Director of Communications

American Jewish Committee

New York

Date: 10/7/2007 12:00:00 AM