US environmental groups slam Ford over clean fuel stance

Envirnomental groups accused Ford of "hypocrisy" for calling for revised fuel efficiency standards, a charge the compa
Envirnomental groups accused Ford of "hypocrisy" for calling for revised fuel efficiency standards, a charge the company denies

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 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."

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© 2018 AFP

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May 08, 2018
1) It's not possible for all types of cars to achieve some arbitrarily high mileage. Physics can't be cheated, so the MPG targets effectively outlaw certain cars or certain powertrains - e.g. you can only have trucks if they run on pixie dust.

2) It's not Ford's problem or fault that consumers want certain kinds of vehicles. Blaming an automaker for catering to the market and demanding them to stop is trying to force consumer behaviour by the back door - by dictating what kinds of cars shall be sold.

3) The MPG gap keeps increasing as the fuel economy targets get more fantastical. None of the cars achieve the stated mileage, and Ford might just be the most honest about theirs.

Why don't they just directly admit what they're trying to do: make it illegal to drive an SUV or a truck.

May 08, 2018
Restrictions based on mileage and pollution are market restrictions. Ford should comply with market restrictions instead of trying to manipulate them.

May 09, 2018
Restrictions based on mileage and pollution are market restrictions.

Of course they are. The insidiousness of the restrictions is in how they're attempting to sneak what is effectively a ban on certain kinds of vehicles as an "unintended consequence" because raising fuel taxes or outright banning these vehicles would be politically impossible.

Ford should comply with market restrictions instead of trying to manipulate them.

So law's the law, and no debate is permitted? That's kinda like how Soviet party democracy operated - once a decision was made, it was non-negotiable even if it turned out bad, because the party is never wrong.

54.5 MPG at 30% engine efficiency is 183 Watt-hours per mile to drive the car. Turned into horsepowers at 60 mph, it would be 15 HP (11 kW) at the wheels. A truck that adheres to these economy standards would need to haul whatever it does using no more power than a common lawnmower.

The targets are unattainable.

May 09, 2018
Combustion engines of any type, running on any fuel, would have to break 57% thermal and mechanical efficiency to reach the 2025 targets. Even hydrogen fuel cells can't get there, which means the only way to adhere to the CAFE standards is by cheating, or by making special exemptions.

And if you think it's a conspiracy of car manufacturers to push fuel-inefficient vehicles and dragging their feet on whatever is today's version of the mythical "100 MPG carburettor", you only have to look at the electric cars for a point of comparison.

Tesla's Model S has one of the lowest coefficients of drag for an automobile, and its "fuel" economy is at 320 Wh/mi (EPA). The Model X economy is 360 Wh/mi. Again, you can't cheat physics, and that makes the CAFE standards effectively double standards that are aimed for no more or less than banning combustion engines in vehicles alltogether.

That effectively outlaws any sensible option like synthetic renewable fuels from the market.

May 09, 2018
Though of course, it is still possible to reach the CAFE standard in these types of vehicles (L7e):


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