You saw Jason’s comments regarding Ford’s announcement to up their hybrid production significantly. Well, it’s one thing to say it, but I have to say it is more heartening when the company starts putting its money where its mouth is.
Ford is starting to hire a number of engineers to essentially double the size of its hybrid team. Moreover, it is starting partnerships with a number of U.S. companies to try and end its total reliance on Japanese companies for key hybrid components.
Both of these are good news for the American economy and prospective hybrid buyers. This move harkens me back to two fundamentals we at UCS have been espousing for some time. First is the potential economic boon of moving our auto fleet toward higher fuel economy. Here are some basic facts from our analysis estimating the effect of moving existing technologies into cars and trucks over the next 10 years to reach an average of 40 miles per gallon by 2015. Even without tapping into hybrids, we found that:
· In 2015, the benefits resulting from investments in fuel economy would lead to 161,000 more jobs throughout the country, with California, Michigan, New York, Florida, Ohio and Illinois topping the list.
· In the automotive sector alone, projected jobs would grow by 40,800 in 2015.
· For consumers, the cost of the new technology would more than pay for itself even at the long past gasoline price of $1.45 per gallon, saving them a net of $23 billion dollars in 2015 alone.
· In 2015, we would cut our national oil use by 2.3 million barrels per day—nearly as much as we currently import from the Persian Gulf —and we would reduce emissions of global warming pollution from cars and trucks by 106 million metric tons of carbon.
What Ford is doing with hybrids shows an inkling of that potential. Of course, we’d love to see this push extended more fully, as you don’t just have to go hybrid to boost fuel efficiency. But, hey, it’s a great start.
Second, in this case, Ford will be turning its engineers loose to develop better vehicle options, rather than uleashing its lawyers to block efforts to make vehicles cleaner or more fuel efficient. If Ford dropped off the lawsuit in California to block the breakthrough regulations on automotive global warming emissions it would take this a step further and truly show that they are committed to a better vehicle future. This continued association with the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the group that is leading the California auto emissions lawsuit, rails against improved fuel economy standards, and attempts to undermine the hybrid market by touting GM and Dodge’s hollow hybrids right along with the Escape, is doing nothing but harm to a company attempting to establish real leadership credentials on cleaner cars.
Posted by: ScottN