In the US, Ford is still behind the 5 major foreign auto makers in fuel efficiency, surpassing only GM and Chrysler. Yet Ford of Europe already achieves dazzling mileage that we Americans can only dream of.
Imagine a gas-fueled car that gets 62 miles to the gallon: “With start-stop, regenerative brakes and an Eco Mode system, the new Focus gets 62 MPG (U.S.) on the European scale and emits just 99 grams of CO2 per kilometer” Available in Europe next Spring.
What is even more startling about this achievement by European Ford is that this mileage is achieved with just good old-fashioned tweaks on the traditional ICE gas car. There is no major technological breakthrough.
Why doesn’t Ford make cars like that here?
It’s partly to do with differences in regulations making it hard to build those engines to meet US specs, but a large part of it has to do with differences in attitudes towards the climate change crisis we are facing.
The European political landscape has largely signed on to global warming as fact. European laws force European auto makers to adhere to strict low-emissions standards. Low carbon emissions and better mileage are co-related.
Europe has already passed legislation limiting carbon emissions. Engineers swiftly revamped the auto industry over there and achieved the new carbon emissions and mileage standards for their fleets.
So European consumers who want better green choices benefit. Voters over there are presumably similar to us in terms of the average understanding of the environmental issues facing the world, yet they elected politicians who have acted to reduce the environmental impact of living.
As long ago as 2006, polls of Americans showed that we realize that we don’t get what the Europeans do, and wanted an average fuel economy of 40 MPG legislated. Yet we keep supporting those who encourage us to heap contempt on Europe for signing Kyoto and passing climate and energy legislation.
That political battle has only stepped up in these weeks leading up to another potentially world-changing agreement on climate change at Copenhagen. As much as Kyoto changed Europe, Copenhagen could change America.
Europe’s Ford buyers are offered a Ford Focus Econetic that is capable of (US) 62 MPG: available next month. Americans are offered a Fiesta getting just 40 MPG, that won’t even be available till 2011.
Read the whole Ford press release on the next page.
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