When 90% of Americans Want Clean Car Standards, Why Isn’t Ford Listening?

by Kate Fried

April 5, 2018

The EPA is gutting clean car standards. Tell Ford not to let it happen.

Greenpeace supporters in Michigan visited Ford's headquarters on March 29th to demand clean air and healthy lungs for our children.

This week, EPA Chief Scott Pruitt announced that the agency will roll back clean fuel standards put in place by the Obama administration. The news was hardly shocking. Clean car advocates had anticipated this development for months —another assault on our climate and public health by a presidential administration that values corporations more than people. What was notable about the announcement was the setting — the Rachel Carson room of the EPA. You know, the same woman who brought chemical companies to their knees with her book, Silent Spring.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Funnily, a room named after a trailblazing ecologist and writer was not Pruitt’s first choice for announcing his new plan to gut commonplace environmental rules. That would have been a car dealership, but according to the New York Times, Pruitt couldn’t find one that wanted to be associated with the announcement.

Maybe he just didn’t ask any Ford dealerships. The Ford Motor Company, along with other car makers, is a member of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group that has been working behind the scenes to weaken the clean car standards. That’s why Greenpeace made this video, which we debuted this week as the battle on clean cars ignited in D.C.

Ford claims that it’s building cars and cities of the future. But as our video, a satirical spin on typical car commercials shows, the future Ford is helping to create is one darkened by pollution. Most of America’s greenhouse gas pollution comes from the transportation sector, and the rules that EPA plans to weaken were some of the most ambitious to date. They were working, and were on track to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 6 billion metric tons by the year 2025.

These clean car standards were also beneficial to automakers. Other countries such as Japan and Norway are innovating their way to cleaner cars, while many U.S. automakers seem stuck in the past, clinging to their gas guzzling cars and SUVs for dear life. But designing and manufacturing cleaner cars would create jobs —100,000 U.S. jobs in 2025 and more than 250,000 U.S. jobs in 2035, according to a recent report by Synapse Energy Economics, Inc. And as other nations innovate, U.S. car companies risk losing business to competitors overseas.

Don’t forget — clean car standards are extremely popular in the U.S. These regulations are supported by nearly 90 percent of Americans, political leaders from both sides of the aisle,  Fortune 500 companies, and consumer, public health, and environmental organizations. Suffice to say, backlash against the announcement was swift. Half a dozen states stepped forward to support California’s clean car rules, currently the most progressive the nation, and now vulnerable to rollbacks with this new announcement.

Advocates also took to Twitter to decry Pruitt’s decision:

Environmental, consumer, and public health advocates will continue to fight the Trump administration on this reckless decision. Greenpeace is not backing down. We are calling on Ford to break from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, and urging EPA to reverse this decision. You can help too by urging Ford to keep our fuel standards strong! Together, we can continue to resist the Trump administration’s assaults on clean air, the environment, and public health.

By Kate Fried

Kate Fried is a Senior Communications Specialist for Greenpeace USA. With nearly two decades of communications experience on behalf of progressive organizations, her work at Greenpeace focuses on deforestation and climate issues. She is based in Washington, D.C.

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