US environmental groups slam Ford over clean fuel stance

Detroit (AFP) –


Environmental groups on Tuesday targeted Ford Motor Co. over its stance on the US clean fuel standard, delivering a petition with 250,000 signatures urging the automaker to drop support for weaker emission rules.

With the battle over fuel-economy rules growing more intense, Madeline Page of Public Citizen, which helped organize the on-line petition, said the Ford was singled out because of the "hypocrisy" of its position.

The company pushes a green message and warns about the need for safeguarding the environment, but its vehicles are consistently among the least fuel efficient, according to a report by the Environmental Protection Agency, she said.

The "Dirty Ford" protestors, organized by Greenpeace, Public Citizen and the Sierra Club, parked an old Ford Focus with big black cloud hanging over it at several spots around Detroit before dropping the petitions at the security desk in Ford headquarters.

"They're all equally bad," Page said of the other Detroit-based manufacturers General Motors and Fiat Chrysler. "But Ford seems the most hypocritical."

The automakers support changes to the fuel economy standards under consideration by Trump administration, which is reviewing rules imposed at the very end of Barack Obama's administration in January 2017.

The Corporate Average Fuel Economy or CAFE standards would require carmakers to reach an average of 54.5 miles per gallon across all models they produce by 2025, in an effort to significantly reduce oil consumption and the greenhouse gasses linked to climate change.

Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, has pushed to reverse the new standards.

"From climate change to higher gas bills the 'Dirty Ford' illustrates just some of the harm that Ford, Trump and 'Polluting Pruitt's' deregulation would impose on Americans," Page said.

Ford, which also has been criticized for its recent decision to cut production of small cars to concentrate on more popular but less efficient trucks and sport utility vehicles, said it favors modifying not scrapping the rules.

It also favor one national standard that would basically reduce the state of California's ability to impose tougher emissions rules.

Ford chairman William Clay Ford Jr. and CEO Jim Hackett denied calling for a rollback.

"We support increasing clean car standards through 2025 and are not asking for a rollback," they said in a recent statement.

The executives noted that the company has invested $11 billion "to put 40 hybrid and fully electric vehicle models on the road by 2022 as well as responsible development of the self-driving car."