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2005 Ford King Ranch F-150 Super Crew
EPA ON THE BEST AND WORST CORPORATIONS FOR FUEL ECONOMY
By ROY NAKANO
In the Environmental
Protection Agency‘s latest report on fuel economy trends, 2004 Fords earned the
lowest average fleet fuel economy of any major car maker selling vehicles in the
United States. In fact, the report reveals that Ford has earned the lowest
average for every year since 1999. One might be able to overlook this figures,
given the large number of trucks and SUVs that the company produces.
The same report, however, reveals that another large producer of trucks and SUVs achieved
the best average car fuel economy, the best average truck fuel economy, and the
second best combined car and truck fuel economy average. That company is Toyota,
and their combined car and truck figures are second only to Honda (27.6 versus
27.7 miles per gallon). Considering the vast number of trucks and SUVs that
Toyota produces (versus Honda), this is quite an achievement.
A few years ago, William Clay Ford (Ford’s CEO)
pledged to dramatically increase the average fuel economy of its truck and SUV line,
only to rescind that promise shortly thereafter. According to Gretchen DuBeau of
the United States Public Interest Research Group, Ford has been taking actions
to undermine the entire federal fuel economy program. Weighing in on a recent
Bush Administration request for comments on the fuel economy program structure, Ford supported maintaining an exemption for
trucks between 8,500 and 10,000 pounds, as well as a loophole that permits
pickup trucks, SUVs, and minivans to meet lower fuel economy standards. “Ford is supporting the Bush AdministrationÂ¹s
proposal to maintain a loophole that blocks our escape from U.S. dependence on
oil,” said DuBeau.
Ford should be commended for bringing its Escape Hybrid SUV to fruition.
However, with a projected annual production of only 20,000 vehicles, the
introduction of the Escape Hybrid is not expected to make much of a dent in
Ford’s last place fuel economy rating. Hopefully, Bill Ford’s original promise
will one day become a reality.