Toyota’s Fuel Efficient Vehicles and Progress Toward Environmental Goals Highlighted

A few weeks ago, Toyota launched its 2011 Toyota North America Environmental Report (EAP). The EAP report highlights the achievements Toyota has made in reaching its environmental targets and describes the car company’s fuel efficient cars, which include its most fuel-efficient vehicles: the Prius and Corolla. The report claims that the Prius, which gets 51 mpg in the city and 48 mpg on the highway, has saved American consumers over 900 million gallons of gas when compared to the average car, $2.5 billion in fuel costs and 14 million tons of carbon emissions.

Toyota first introduced the Prius, the first mass-produced gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain vehicle, to the global market in 1997. In April 2011, Toyota celebrated the one-millionth Prius in the U.S. Worldwide Prius sales topped two million in October 2010, and global Toyota hybrid sales passed three million in March 2011.

Prius topped both the EPA and Natural Resources Canada’s list of the most fuel-efficient vehicles for 2011, and was named the best overall value of the year for the last nine years in a row by IntelliChoice. So what’s next?

Toyota debuted the Prius v in January 2011 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The Prius v, which went on sales this fall, is a midsize vehicle that provides over 50 percent additional interior cargo space than the current Prius.

Toyota’s other “green” vehicles

Toyota debuted the RAV4 EV Prototype-Phase Zero, the second generation RAV4 EV, at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2010. Built as a collaboration between Toyota and Tesla Motors, Inc., its launch is planned for 2012. It has a driving range of 100 miles and produces zero emissions.

Toyota began a lease program for fuel cell hybrid vehicles (FCHVs) in the U.S. and Japan in 2002 with universities and corporate customers. There are currently over 60 FCHVs in service in California, New York and Connecticut with universities, corporations and government agencies. Toyota plans to deploy over 100 FCHV advanced vehicles by 2013 with universities, private companies and government agencies in California and New York as part of a demonstration program.

Toyota met most of its environmental targets

Toyota met the majority of its environmental targets. However, it did not meet the goal to reduce energy use by 27 percent per vehicle produced by 2011 from a 2002 baseline. The good news it that the company has reduced its total energy use in North America over the last five years.

Toyota did meet the goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from manufacturing by 10 percent per vehicle produce by the end of 2012 it committed to as part of a voluntary Department of Energy program. The company reduced carbon emissions at U.S. plants by 17 percent per vehicle.

Toyota set the goal of reducing its nonsaleable waste to 30 kg per vehicle by 2011, and achieved the target in 2007. Although the U.S. sales headquarters campus missed its target of recycling 75 percent of its waste by 2010, it missed by only one percent, as it achieved a 74 recycling rate by 2011.

Photo: Flickr user, danielctw

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by