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United against fuel efficiency hikes

Fuel economy information posted in the window of a new Ford Escape Hybrid SUV in October 2005. It made the government's list of most fuel efficient vehicles last year.

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: Today, a top executive at Toyota said he's worried about an American backlash against his company. Toyota's close to unseating GM as the world's No. 1 car manufacturer. Lawmakers in car-making states like Michigan have accused Japan of manipulating the yen for Toyota's benefit. The Toyota executive said his company needs to boost the number of foreigners on its 25-member board of directors. Right now, there are zero. Today, Toyota will join together with the American carmakers and their labor group for a hearing on Capitol Hill. Alisa Roth explains.


ALISA ROTH: Big cheeses from GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota and the United Auto Workers are testifying at a meeting of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

They all agree the government's proposals for raising fuel efficiency in cars will cost the industry lots of money — and jobs. They say the new standards shouldn't be set by Congress arbitrarily.

Dave McCurdy heads the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

DAVE MCCURDY: What you'll hear is a consistent argument by them that the industry does support continued improvements, but that it's best brought about through a very organized process.

McCurdy says consumers have chosen other features like air conditioning and bigger cars over fuel efficiency.

There are a number of bills on the Hill now which would mandate higher fuel standards, but the emissions debate could also get thrown into the bigger issue of regulating greenhouse gases.

In New York, I'm Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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