To the Editor:
As a person of faith, a United Methodist Woman, and a proud Ford owner, I ask Ford to stop undermining the Clean Car Standards it promised to support and build the clean cars consumers want and our climate demands.
The name Ford was always spoken with reverence in my household. Growing up in Metro Detroit, my grandfather, Joe, was proud to tell his grandkids of his career at Ford’s Paint and Vinyl Plant in Mt. Clemens where he worked with his brother, Jim. As family lore goes, Uncle Jim suggested taking some cord out of a vinyl trim piece that ended up saving Ford millions of dollars. Jim was rewarded with a new car. My grandfather, Uncle Jim, and his 4 other brothers had a combined 240 years of seniority when they retired from Ford in the late 80s.
I have few memories that don’t include Ford: driving around campus at Albion College in a convertible Ford Mustang my Dad let me borrow from his Ford dealership; bringing home my first child from the hospital in a green Ford Taurus; driving to my teaching job at St. Paul on the Lake Catholic School in Grosse Pointe in my Ford Escape. Recently, my family of 5 ditched our minivan in favor of a Ford Flex. It’s the nicest car we’ve ever owned.
My family owns another Ford, too, a C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid. After exhaustive research, we chose the C-Max because it was a way we could reflect our love of God and neighbor in our buying habits. You see, my family and I now live in southern Illinois, deep in coal country. We see and experience firsthand how clean air standards affect coal workers and the entire region. I live in a state that has a bad track record on environmental justice, locating most of our coal fired power plants in low income communities and communities of color. So when I reduce my energy consumption and improve my fuel economy, I can reduce the health impacts I have on my brothers and sisters in the grips of polluting coal plants.
We are proud to own a plug-in, almost as proud as Bill Ford was when he was on stage with President Obama when the new Clean Car Standards were announced in 2011. These standards nearly doubled average fuel economy of vehicles, with a goal of 54.5 mpg by 2025, and are the most significant policy the U.S. has to cut carbon pollution.
But now, Ford has changed its tune and claims it needs greater “flexibility” in meeting the standards. And the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed to weaken the standards. Ford’s reversal is clearly not based on any real technical or financial challenge in building the cleaner cars they promised. Ford has received billions in loans from U.S. taxpayers to engineer the advanced vehicles of tomorrow. And recent government and industry reviews have shown that automakers can comply with the standards.
It is unconscionable for Ford to renege on its commitment to cleaner cars now. I ask Ford to put people and planet over profits and stand by its promise.