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Ford Escapes EPA's Lowest Fuel Efficiency Ranking

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SAN FRANCISCO July 17, 2006: The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ranked Ford Motor Company near the bottom in overall fuel efficiency among major automakers, according to its 2006 fuel economy report released today. Fleet-wide, Ford cars and trucks averaged 19.7 miles per gallon (mpg), narrowly avoiding last place in the fuel efficiency report for the third straight year. That dubious honor was claimed by Daimler Chrysler, whose vehicles averaged 19.1 mpg.

In response to the report, the Jumpstart Ford Campaign is redoubling its call for Ford to break its oil addiction by rapidly phasing out production of gas-guzzling internal combustion engines and replacing them with existing alternatives, such as gasoline-optional, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or GO hybrids. GO hybrids would free most drivers from routinely filling up at the pump and would put America on the road to energy independence.

“Bill Ford Jr.’s downward spiral of oil addiction is devastating his company’s economic future,” said Jennifer Krill, Zero Emissions Campaign Director for Rainforest Action Network. “Mr. Ford is on our air waves right now fooling America by telling us that he is committed to breaking our dependence on oil while he breaks his promise to build more hybrids and his company produces one of the most oil-addicted fleets in America. Ford Motor Company is failing America on fuel efficiency when we need them to be leading.”

“Regardless of whether Ford is in last place or a hairs-breadth higher in second-to-last place, the automaker is still stubbornly making cars that endanger our health, our national security, and our environment,” said Mike Hudema, Independence from Oil Director with Global Exchange. “19.7 mpg on average is less efficient than the old Model T Ford. Since we launched the campaign in 2002, we have been waiting for Ford to end its string of broken promises. With this report, it looks like we will still be waiting.”

The news is the latest in a series of crippling blows to Ford’s “environmentally friendly” marketing plan. Last week, in a Forbes Magazine report on the world’s least environmentally sustainable cars, Ford produced five of the list’s seven worst vehicles. On June 29, the company reneged on a nine-month-old promise to build 250,000 hybrids by 2010, drawing the ire of environmental and human rights groups across the country. Just weeks before that, Ford rival Toyota unveiled a commitment of its own – to sell one million hybrids by 2010 and double the number of hybrid models it produces – leaving Ford even further behind.

Ford’s poor environmental performance is taking an economic toll on the company. Citing an over-reliance on gas-guzzling SUVs, last week Moody’s further downgraded Ford’s bonds into junk status, stating, “The downgrade of the Ford ratings reflects Moody's expectation that the company's performance in North America will face considerable additional stress due to high fuel prices and the resulting shift in consumer preference away from the very profitable SUV segment.” Ford is projecting a loss of as much as $3 billion in 2006, and will be shedding between 22,000 and 24,000 workers by the end of next year.

The Jumpstart Ford Campaign – a coalition comprised of Rainforest Action Network, Global Exchange and the Ruckus Society – is working to end America’s oil dependence, reduce oil related conflicts, and stop global climate change by convincing the auto industry to dramatically improve fuel efficiency and eliminate vehicle greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

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