Sept. 20, 2018
Ford – Which Pushed for Rollback of Clean Car Standards – Changes Its Tune
In Ohio Speech, Ford CEO Says Company No Longer Supports the Rollback; Groups Call on Ford to Unequivocally Support the Obama-Era Standards
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ford Motor Company, under significant pressure from a broad coalition of organizations and the public, on Wednesday appeared to be reversing its stance on the Trump administration’s proposed rollback of the clean car standards. Public Citizen, the Sierra Club and Safe Climate Campaign, which have called on Ford to support the standards as it had under the Obama administration, today called on the company to use its influence to protect them, as it did when it lobbied the Trump administration for a rollback.
At a meeting Wednesday of the Midwestern Governors Association in Columbus, Ohio, Ford CEO Jim Hackett said that Ford does not support the proposed rollback of fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards, also known as clean car standards. Hackett said, “There’s a group of people out there protesting today, the governor and I, about CO2 standards. Ford is leading in this regard, because it’s my belief that the legislation to improve fuel efficiency, which we’re in favor of keeping the standard, not a rollback, we have plans to meet it. I’ve come up with a new theory, I’ve told the president this, that the real advantage in CO2 is gonna come from the cloud orchestrating things.” His remarks are available here, from 19:49 to 20:20.
This comes after Ford and other automakers have worked behind the scenes to urge the administration to roll back the Obama-era standards. The Trump administration did just that, proposing in August to freeze the standards at 2020 levels and revoking a provision allowing 13 states to protect their citizens from harmful tailpipe pollution. Ford previously has advocated both legislative and regulatory moves to create more “flexibilities” or loopholes. Those calls were notably absent from Hackett’s remarks Wednesday.
As Hackett spoke, Public Citizen, the Sierra Club and Safe Climate campaign held a protest outside, continuing its calls for Ford to once again support the clean car standards. Protesters took to kayaks on the nearby Scioto River and floated a raft carrying a message for Ford: “Dump Trump, Protect Consumers at the Pump.” The groups also ran a full-page ad in the Columbus Dispatch on Wednesday containing a letter to Ford, calling on the automaker to stop trying to unravel the clean car rules.
“It’s great news that Ford now claims that it doesn’t support the rollback,” said Madeline Page, clean cars campaign coordinator for Public Citizen. “Now we call on Ford – which has actively worked for the rollback – to be equally as forceful with the White House in making sure the Obama-era rules remain untouched. In addition, Ford should publicly denounce the proposed rollback and urge other automakers to denounce it also.”
“We urge Ford to confirm its new support for the existing clean car standards when it testifies next week before the Trump administration,” said Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign. “If Ford really will push to keep the current rules, that would be a better idea from Ford that benefits our air and our children’s future.”
“Ford has a decision to make; will it continue to change its tune based on the audience it faces, or will it use the very same efforts it previously employed to lobby the Trump administration to ensure they remain intact,” said Deputy Advocacy Director for Sierra Club’s Clean Transportation for all Campaign Andrew Linhardt. “It’s time to end this charade and be forthright with the public about who they stand with: Trump or the public.”
If left in place, the Obama-era standards would double vehicle efficiency, save consumers $1.7 trillion in fuel costs and reduce oil consumption by up to 4 million barrels every day. A March 2018 poll found that nearly seven in 10 American voters want the existing standards to remain protected.
The Trump administration’s proposed rollback would cause 6 billion more tons of carbon pollution to be dumped into the atmosphere that would have otherwise been prevented – a direct attack on the health and safety of America’s children and public health.
Federal hearings to solicit public input on the proposed rollback will take place in Fresno, Dearborn and Pittsburgh next week. The groups encourage the public to submit comments to the docket or come in person to defend the standards.