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Old 12-04-2002, 22:55   #1 (permalink)
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Ford gains ground in pollution report

Automaker is 4th of 6 largest; Japan trio leads
December 5, 2002
BY CRAIG LINDER
STATES NEWS SERVICE

WASHINGTON -- Since becoming chairman of Ford Motor Co., William Clay Ford Jr. has made a commitment to reducing his company's impact on the environment one of his key talking points.

Now, environmentalists say that rhetoric is translating into results.

Of the six largest automakers, Ford was the only one to improve its environmental performance over the last two years, according to a report released Wednesday by an environmental group.

Ford moved up one notch to fourth place in the Union of Concerned Scientists' report, making it the top-performing American automaker. General Motors Corp. dropped one place to fifth in the study, while the report ranked Germany's DaimlerChrysler AG last among the world's six largest automakers.

Jason Mark, the report's author, said Ford's gains are due in large part to a handful of environmentally friendly initiatives that William Clay Ford has endorsed, including a two-year-old pledge to boost the fuel efficiency of Ford's sport-utility vehicles by 25 percent by 2005.

"Our analysis suggests his efforts are starting to pay off in the real world," Mark said. 'Our sincere hope is that this is just the beginning -- that Ford is only beginning to climb up the auto rankings."

Even with Ford's improved ranking, all three American automakers still trailed their largest Japanese competitors, which have largely built their reputations on fuel-efficient passenger cars and small SUVs.

Honda Motor Co. took first place in the report, followed by Toyota Motor Corp. in second and Nissan Motor Co. in third.

Using 2001 model year emissions data, the report's authors ranked each of the six automakers based on pollution levels from the average vehicle in their passenger car and light-truck fleets.

A researcher focused on tailpipe emissions of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas that scientists believe is responsible for global warming, and smog-causing gasses like nitrogen oxide.

The report slammed DaimlerChrysler for taking advantage of a federal law that allows vehicles that burn either gasoline or renewable fuels like ethanol to have their fuel efficiency evaluated at the higher renewable-fuels rate, even if the vehicle normally runs on gasoline. DaimlerChrysler also drew criticism for reducing the fuel economy of its pickup trucks and minivans.

DaimlerChrysler's Washington spokesman dismissed the report, saying its methodology is weighted against the automaker and ignores past gains in fuel economy.

"We are penalized in the ranking because our minivans, sport-utility vehicles and pickup trucks are so popular," Stuart Schorr said in a statement. "The ranking of the companies is heavily affected by the sales ratio of cars versus trucks and not the efficiency of the vehicles themselves."
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Old 12-05-2002, 05:06   #2 (permalink)
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Ford getting greener
Union of Concerned Scientists ranks six largest automakers

By Kristin English, Medill News Service
Last Update: 4:46 PM ET Dec. 4, 2002

WASHINGTON (CBS.MW) -- Ford trucks now spew less smog-forming emissions into the atmosphere than they did two years ago, the Union of Concerned Scientists said Tuesday, making Ford the only one of the big six automakers to get improved marks in the group's biennial ranking of the companies' environmental performance.

The group of scientists and citizens ranked DaimlerChrysler (DCX: news, chart, profile), Ford (F: news, chart, profile), General Motors (GM: news, chart, profile), Honda (HMC: news, chart, profile), Nissan (NSANY: news, chart, profile) and Toyota (TM: news, chart, profile) on their friendliness to the environment based on smog-forming emissions and carbon dioxide emissions of their vehicles.

According to the group, the world's six largest automakers account for 93 percent of the smog-forming pollution and 92 percent of carbon dioxide pollution.

"This information has been repackaged more than Bing Crosby's greatest holiday hits," said Charles Territo, spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents all of the big six automakers except Honda, as well as seven other car and truck manufacturers.

Ford ranked fifth out of the six for cars made in model year 1998, but jumped to fourth in the recent report for its 2001 models.

The Union of Concerned Scientists credited Ford's environmental achievements to the leadership of William Clay Ford Jr., Henry Ford's great-grandson, who took the company's helm in 1999.

"Bill Ford has touted his green thumb, but until now, only his speeches have merited a thumbs up," said Jason Mark, the report's author. "Ford deserves credit for going beyond federal requirements to clean up smog-forming emissions from its trucks."

While Ford's 2001car emissions were higher than they were in 1998 models, truck emissions decreased between those two years.

Ford's largest trucks and sport utility vehicles emit between 20 and 25 percent less smog-forming emissions than General Motors' trucks of comparable size. But the fuel economy for Ford's most popular models ranks below that for all other vehicles made by automakers, the report said.

The report said Ford's record still has a way to go, though, because many of its models are not very fuel-efficient. Ford has pledged to increase the fuel economy of its sport utility vehicles by 25 percent by 2005.

Other automakers

Honda again ranked at the top of the list. According to the report, Honda trucks emit the least amount of smog-inducing emissions and Honda cars lead in fuel efficiency. While Honda was also the most environmentally friendly based on 1998 models, other makers closed the gap in 2001 because of new tailpipe standards that reduce emissions overall.

DaimlerChrysler ranked last because most of the vehicles it sells are trucks, which pollute more and get worse mileage.

DaimlerChrysler vehicles' emissions of global warming gases increased overall. The report said that the company uses loopholes in miles per gallon regulations by basing its miles per gallon data on vehicles running on ethanol. While the 2001 Dodge Caravan model got 24 miles per gallon on gasoline, it got 39 miles per gallon on ethanol, the report said.

"DaimlerChrysler light trucks outperform GM and Ford in average fuel economy, but we are penalized in the ranking because our minivans, sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks are so popular," said Stuart Schorr, a spokesman for DaimlerChrysler.

Toyota ranked second, Nissan third and General Motors fifth.

"It's not always easy to compare companies," noted Territo of the automakers' group. "It's not as simple as saying one company is greener than another."

Policy

Mark said policymakers need to be more active in establishing emission standards for vehicles. He called President Bush's auto emissions policy "woefully inadequate."

He said automakers have the technology to make their vehicles more environmentally friendly, they just don't.

"Automakers are spending more of their time trying to develop the next gadget rather than building more efficient vehicles," Mark said.

In fact, automakers that go beyond the current environmental standards will be ahead of the game when the government does step up and increase standards, said Laura Huskins, a financial analyst at Trillium Asset Management.

Territo said automakers have made new cars and light trucks 96 percent cleaner than 1960s models. By 2009, all new vehicles will be 80 percent less polluting than this year's models, he said.
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