Jumpstarting Ford to Stop Global Warming
BREAKING NEWS: Concerned Citizens Hold 'Intervention' at Ford Dealer
Dealer asked to pressure Detroit to stop pushing oil-addicted gas-guzzlers at Walnut Creek Ford
Jumpstart Ford Press Release
February 4, 2005
Oakland - Activists will protest at Walnut Creek Ford today with an act of intervention to force the EPA's worst-ranked gas guzzler to stop driving America's oil addiction. The 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.
Who:"Jumpstart Ford" Coalition Zero Emissions Activists
What:Intervention For Ford Motor Company, America's Oil Addict
When:1:30-2:30 PST Friday, February 4, 2005
Where:Walnut Creek Ford at 1800 North Main Street, Walnut Creek, CA
Visuals:Giant helium balloons holding colorful banners reading: "#1 in Greenhouse Gas Emmissions" and "EPA's worst ranked automaker for five years running"
This creative intervention coupled with a negotiation 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. Participants in today's action represent a broad spectrum of concerns and organizations including Code Pink, Rainforest Action Network, Global Exchange, Ruckus Society, and many others.
"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 Ford's 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 doesn't know when to say when, and the company's denial about its oil addiction puts us all in jeopardy," said Jason Mark, a clean car campaigner at the human rights group Global Exchange. "We 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."
The facts about Ford:
- According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the overall average fuel efficiency of Ford's 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 world's 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 America's 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 are demanding that Ford use existing technologies to immediately improve its fleet-wide fuel efficiency and commit to ultimately eliminate tailpipe emissions. Just two weeks ago, intense public pressure convinced Ford to save and resell its only zero emission cars in America, the Ford Ranger Electric Vehicle.
For more information, please visit JumpstartFord.com.
WALNUT CREEK DAILY EXCLUSIVE: Ford's Green Record Protested
Walnut Creek demonstration ends amicably with dealer agreeing to sign letter
By Steve Long
February 10, 2005
A colorful demonstration by about 50 activists protesting Ford Motor Company's environmental record ended amicably Friday outside of Walnut Creek Ford when the dealership's owner agreed to sign a letter supporting the demonstrators' demands.
Holding a giant red helium balloon and chanting, "Ford, Ford, you're no good, treat the planet like you should," demonstrators from a coalition of Bay Area environmental organizations likened Ford to a drug addict.
"Ford has a problem - oil addiction," said Jennifer Krill of the Rainforest Action Network. "So we are doing an 'intervention' like you would do with a drug addict or an alcoholic.
"It's absolutely unacceptable in the 21st century for Ford to manufacture vehicles with the lowest fuel efficiency in the industry. We deserve better."
Krill and other activists from groups including Code Pink, Global Exchange, and the Ruckus Society, charged Ford had broken promises to improve the fuel efficiency of its vehicles and had wrongly made a controversial decision to eliminate its popular natural gas and all-electric vehicle programs.
"Ford is America's worst gas guzzler," said Jason Mark, a staff organizer for Global Exchange.
Krill charged that "Ford's oil binge" is "shattering the new American dream for energy independence. It is unconscionable that Ford's fuel efficiency continues to fall at a time when the Arctic icecap is melting and over 100 million Americans live in major auto markets that exceed federal health guidelines for clean air."
Another demonstrator, Andrea Buffa, a member of the feminist group, Code Pink, said the U.S.'s dependence on foreign oil and the war in Iraq were related: "If Ford improves its fuel efficiency, it will lead to a better foreign policy and fewer wars for oil."
Mike Brune of the Rainforest Action Network told the activists that he had seen oil drilling and oil pipelines in the Ecuadorian rain forest: "We can't reduce the pressure on the world's forests unless we reduce our oil dependency."
Walnut Creek Ford co-owner Sid Savarani said Ford is committed to better fuel efficiency. "Ford is the first manufacturer building a hybrid SUV, the Escape," he said. "Ford is also coming out with a hybrid car, the Fusion, by the end of the summer. And the Ford Focus, while not a hybrid, is the most fuel efficient car in the small compact class."
Savarani said it took time to develop new fuel-efficient technologies, but Ford also had to respond to market demand. "If people want more fuel-efficient cars, Ford will make them. But when people want gas-guzzling SUVs, Ford can't walk away from that business."
The demonstrators had alerted him in advance of the demonstration, one of several planned for the Bay Area, Savarani said, and were "very professional."
He said he would sign a letter to Ford Chief Executive Officer William Clay Ford, Jr., that the demonstrators asked him to sign. The letter asks that Ford use existing technologies to immediately improve its fleet-wide fuel efficiency and commit to ultimately eliminate tailpipe emissions.
"I don't see anything wrong with the letter, and believe I'll sign it," Savarani said.
Richard Perl, an attorney with the activists from New York City, called the demonstration a "successful milestone. We achieved what we came here to do, and we won't come back to this dealership."