Activists Hold ‘Day Of Intervention’ At Ford Dealers

by Paul West on November 19, 2004

Activists have begun protesting at Ford dealers across the United States and Canada as part of an international “Day of Intervention” to force the EPA’s worst-ranked automaker to stop driving America’s oil addiction. The mass action is a direct response to Ford’s broken promises to improve fuel efficiency and the controversial decision to eliminate its popular natural gas and all-electric vehicle programs.

Creative interventions ranging from street theater to one-on-one meetings with dealers will confront Ford with a message that its gas guzzling fleet is a leading cause of global warming and a danger to public health, national security, economic stability and human rights. Actions will take place in more than 40 North American cities including Boston, Des Moines, Edmonton, New Orleans, Oakland and Vancouver.

“Ford’s oil binge is shattering the new American dream for energy independence,” said Jennifer Krill, director of the Zero Emissions Campaign at Rainforest Action Network. “It is unconscionable that Ford1s fuel efficiency continues to fall at a time when the Arctic icecap is melting and over 100 million Americans are living in major auto markets that exceed federal health guidelines for clean air. In light of mounting evidence that deadly tailpipe emissions are a leading cause of everything from asthma to global warming, Ford’s addiction to oil is a crime against humanity that must end.”

“Ford doesn1t know when to say when, and the company1s denial about its oil addiction puts us all in jeopardy,2 said Jason Mark, a clean car campaigner at the human rights group Global Exchange. 3We will be at Ford dealerships in an effort to help the company. Our oil addiction is a clear and present danger to our economy, our environment, and our national security.”

“By breaking his pledge on fuel mileage, Mr. Ford crushed any notion that his company cares about stopping global warming. The reality is that Ford is the absolute worst of all the major automakers,” said Russell Long, executive director of Bluewater Newtork.

The facts about Ford:

* According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the overall average fuel efficiency of Ford1s fleet today is 18.8 mpg, dead last among the major automakers for the fifth consecutive year.
* Since the oil crisis of the 1970s, Ford has ranked worst in overall fuel efficiency of all major automakers for 20 out of the last 30 years.
* From subcompacts to SUVs, Ford’s current cars and trucks today get fewer miles per gallon on average than its Model-T did 80 years ago.
* Ford’s widely touted ‘eco-friendly’ Rouge River plant features a
water-preserving green roof, yet manufactures 280,000 gas-guzzling F-150s a year, generating up to 100 tons of atmospheric carbon a piece over each truck’s lifetime.
* Marketed as “the first American hybrid,” Ford’s so-called ‘no compromise’ Escape represents less than one half of one percent of its fleet and will have virtually no impact on its last place fuel efficiency ranking.
* At the same time as Ford engages in a multi-million dollar marketing effort to “green the blue oval,” it is lobbying against fuel efficiency market incentives and fighting federal and state efforts to raise standards.
* Less than five years after Bill Ford, Jr. publicly proclaimed that Ford was “the world1s leading producer and seller of electric vehicles,” it eliminated its popular zero emission all-electric and natural gas vehicle programs.
* In 2000, Bill Ford, Jr. promised to improve the fuel efficiency of its SUVs 25 percent by 2005. In 2003, Ford reneged on that promise.
* While there are long waiting lists for hybrids of every make and model, Ford blames consumer demand for its decision to continue manufacturing and marketing America1s least fuel-efficient fleet.
* On September 2, 2004, Niel Golightly, director of environmental strategies for Ford Motor Company, told USA Today, “Clearly, the entire industry could build nothing but zero emissions cars today if it wanted to.”

Human rights and environmental groups including Bluewater Network (, Ecopledge (, Energy Action (, Free the Planet! (, Global Exchange (, Rainforest Action Network (, Sierra Club (, Sierra Student Coalition ( and the Student Environmental Action Coalition ( are demanding that Ford use existing technologies to immediately improve its fleet-wide fuel efficiency and commit to ultimately eliminate tailpipe emissions.

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