This week, tens of thousands of people will attend the Washington Auto Show to see the latest that the industry has to offer. However, instead of moving toward a cleaner transportation future, Ford Motor Company and other automakers are working to take us backward: They are lobbying the Trump administration to weaken clean car standards, which curb pollution, save consumers money and protect health.
"After a year of the worst climate change-fueled extreme weather we've ever seen, it's clear that we need to hit the brakes on global warming pollution, and one of our best programs to cut emissions are the clean car standards," said Andrea McGimsey, global warming solutions program director at Environment America. "If Ford is serious about committing to a clean, electric, zero-emission future, it needs to step up and publicly support the clean car standards."
While Ford largely supported stronger fuel efficiency and emissions standards enacted during the Obama administration, it has taken a different approach since the election of Donald Trump.
"Ford may be trying to put on a good show, but behind closed doors, it has been working with Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt to roll back our single biggest defense against dangerous climate pollution," said Sierra Club's deputy legislative director, Andrew Linhardt. "Ford's claims of sustainability in its advertising and here at the auto show are nothing more than greenwashing. If Ford wants to back up its claims, it would be arguing to put clean car standards in the fast lane, strengthening them to protect our health and our climate rather than undermining them."
In 2011, automakers, labor groups and environmentalists stood beside President Barack Obama as he announced the new clean car standards.The rules already are delivering benefits, already having saved Americans more than $53 billion and, if enforced as written, will ensure that:
- Individual consumers will save $3,200 to $5,700 in fuel costs over the life of their vehicle.
- Six billion metric tons of tailpipe climate pollution—the equivalent of a year's worth of pollution from 150 power plants—will be kept from the atmosphere.
- Oil consumption will be reduced by 12 billion barrels.
"Making clean vehicles is auto mechanics, not rocket science: Ford can save drivers gas and slash air pollution," said Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign. "Instead, Ford announced that it will make more gas-guzzling SUVs and other trucks while it works with President Trump to roll back clean car standards."
Despite a recent announcement to invest in electric vehicles, Ford isn't showcasing any of its electric models at the auto show.
Madeline Page, campaign coordinator with Public Citizen said, "Search the Washington auto show website to see what electric vehicles will be on display this week, and you'll get this message: 'Sorry, the search criteria returned 0 results.' It's further evidence that Ford's desperate attempts to flex its green credentials in the media is just that, talk. It may be too late to pack the convention center with clean vehicles, but we will continue to call out Ford's hypocrisy and push the company to halt efforts to roll back the clean car standards."
The rules are popular. A Natural Resources Defense Council poll found that 79 percent of Americans want the government to increase standards. Moreover, a 2016 technical assessment by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the California Air Resources Board shows that automakers are meeting the standards more affordably and faster than predicted.