The Bluewater Network enlisted the help of University students
yesterday to arouse a public appeal to Chief Executive Officer
William Ford for a “climate-friendly” Ford Motor
Co.

Kate Green
MIKE HULSEBUS/Daily
RC sophomore Ilan Brandvain helps RC sophomore Tara Smith call Ford Motor Company to demand it double its standards for fuel efficiency.

Bluewater staff member Amy Faulring and volunteers stood on the
Diag from noon to 3 p.m. with cell phones and Ford’s office
number in hand. In a nationally choreographed movement, they asked
supporters to call Ford’s office and pledge to boycott his
company’s vehicles until it lives up to its
“environmental promises.”

“Bill Ford is supposedly an environmentalist, but his cars
speak another story,” said LSA freshman Pooja Varma, a
student volunteer. Many environmental groups and scientists have
criticized Ford for the discordance between his public rhetoric and
what activists claim is a poor performance by the company on EPA
fuel-economy tests.

A Bluewater Network written statement states that Ford supports
change in the automobile industry’s policies to suit an
agenda for environmental sustainability. However, the statement
also says Ford personally lobbied Congress against increasing fuel
mileage standards.

In 2000, Ford Motor Co. promised a 25 percent SUV fuel mileage
increase by 2004, according to the company’s Corporate
Citizenship Report in 2000.

One of Ford Motor Co.’s goals that it still expects to
meet is the fall 2004 release of its first hybrid SUV, the Ford
Escape Hybrid.

On its web page, Ford Motor states that the targeted fuel
mileage for the hybrid is 30 to 40 miles per gallon, which is 55
percent to 60 percent higher than that of the original Escape. The
hybrid is also projected to have reduced greenhouse gas
emissions.

“We think the hybrid is a great idea and we are really
excited about it, but it is Ford’s typical passenger vehicles
that we are concerned about,” said Faulring.

The Bluewater Network estimates Ford Motor Co.’s
“new cars, SUVs and trucks” to average only 23 miles
per gallon, but said technology is available to produce vehicles
three times more efficient.

Japanese automakers Toyota Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co.
introduced their hybrids, the Prius and the Insight, two years
ago.

Although Ford claims that economic hardship forced the company
to abandon its environmental promises, Faulring spoke
otherwise.

“We understand the importance of making profit and we want
workers to be paid and paid well with benefits, but Ford’s
financial reports indicate that they are making profits, so they
can follow through (on their promises).”

The Bluewater Network demands that Ford increase SUV fuel
economy and lobby for the increase of fuel mileage standards.

The group is not alone in singling out Ford Motor Co. Many
environmentalist groups, including the Sierra Club and Greenpeace,
feel that the country’s leading automobile maker, has a
responsibility to also be a leader in the movement to preserve the
environment.

Many University students expressed the same sentiment today.
Sixty calls were made to Ford’s office from the campus
alone.

“We (students) are the future car buyers,” said Art
and Design sophomore Geoff Silverstein. He added that is why the
Bluewater Network trusted the students to take up the cause of
changing the automobile industry.

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