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Published on December 3rd, 2009 | by Susan Kraemer

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European Legislation Creates 62 MPG Gas Cars… From Ford

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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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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate, and GreenProphet. She has also been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.



  • Tim Cleland

    “As much as Kyoto changed Europe, Copenhagen could change America.”

    I don’t know if I’d count on that. Cap and Trade is currently stalled in the Senate and looks to be unable to get enough votes to overcome a filibuster. Any Democratic Senator from a state that has coal, oil and/or natural gas industries is understandably going to vote against it.

    The Climategate emails are not going to help either. While not the “smoking gun proof that AGW is a hoax” that the right wing makes it out to be, to an objective reader, it definitely shows some disturbing collusion to silence dissenting hypotheses. They also deleted the raw temp data and only kept the “value added” data. That looks terribly suspicious. The mainstream media isn’t covering it, but covering their eyes and ears while shouting “LA, LA, LA,…”, isn’t going to make this go away. I guarantee it’s going to be one of the centerpieces of the 2010 and 2012 elections.

  • Tim Cleland

    “As much as Kyoto changed Europe, Copenhagen could change America.”

    I don’t know if I’d count on that. Cap and Trade is currently stalled in the Senate and looks to be unable to get enough votes to overcome a filibuster. Any Democratic Senator from a state that has coal, oil and/or natural gas industries is understandably going to vote against it.

    The Climategate emails are not going to help either. While not the “smoking gun proof that AGW is a hoax” that the right wing makes it out to be, to an objective reader, it definitely shows some disturbing collusion to silence dissenting hypotheses. They also deleted the raw temp data and only kept the “value added” data. That looks terribly suspicious. The mainstream media isn’t covering it, but covering their eyes and ears while shouting “LA, LA, LA,…”, isn’t going to make this go away. I guarantee it’s going to be one of the centerpieces of the 2010 and 2012 elections.

  • Captain Morgan

    That’s 62-mpg on the EU test cycle. Put the same vehicle through the EPA’s US test cycle and I guarantee it will not come close to 62-mpg. It’s the same smoke and mirrors that allow the Prius to get such ridiculously high mileage ratings in Japan.

    You like to ignore the regulatory differences between the US and Europe in terms of safety standards, etc. but they are very important when designing a vehicle. Why is it, for instance, that only about 60% of the parts are common between the European and US Ford ‘Fiesta’? Part of that is market driven, but a large part of that is also driven by more stringent regulations designed to benefit the consumer.

    These regulations are in place for a reason. Perhaps you should do some more research before declaring that the US consumer is somehow being cheated. Miles-per-gallon is not the only measure to be considered when comparing European and US-spec vehicles.

  • Captain Morgan

    That’s 62-mpg on the EU test cycle. Put the same vehicle through the EPA’s US test cycle and I guarantee it will not come close to 62-mpg. It’s the same smoke and mirrors that allow the Prius to get such ridiculously high mileage ratings in Japan.

    You like to ignore the regulatory differences between the US and Europe in terms of safety standards, etc. but they are very important when designing a vehicle. Why is it, for instance, that only about 60% of the parts are common between the European and US Ford ‘Fiesta’? Part of that is market driven, but a large part of that is also driven by more stringent regulations designed to benefit the consumer.

    These regulations are in place for a reason. Perhaps you should do some more research before declaring that the US consumer is somehow being cheated. Miles-per-gallon is not the only measure to be considered when comparing European and US-spec vehicles.

  • Nick Chambers

    Actually, Captain, that is 62 MPG in the US. If you read the press release, you’ll see that the European mileage is 74 MPG. Generally you see a 15% drop in mileage numbers when converting from European to US—hence the 62 MPG number.

    So, while your rant is accurate, your assumptions are wrong.

  • http://greenoptions.com/author/susan Susan Kraemer

    Climate legislation has been filibustered and stalled for years, by all but 4 Republicans: Collins and Snowe of 55% renewably powered Maine, and (till replaced by D’s last year: Smith(OR) and Coleman(MN)).

    Now that there are fewer Senate Republicans, only 40%, there is a better chance. Two or three Democrats could stall legislation too, but we are closer than in 20 years to getting good renewable energy legislation passed with about 59 pro renewable energy votes.

    US Fossil funding of congress has been the real problem preventing action. http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.php?ind=E01

    They don’t allow that in Europe.

    On the email drama: more tactics by Senator Inhofe’s Marc Morano (Swiftboater at NewsMax). They have been hounding all climate science for a decade, because fossil companies stand to lose if AGW climate change is true.

    Look at Inhofe’s fossil funding in that link, and you see the motive to delay action with new tactics (email hack revelation) right before Copenhagen. The previous tactic was “China and India won’t act so why should we”.

    Look at it logically:

    1. If the world switched to renewable energy, fossil companies would lose money.

    2. Conversely, spending 30 years proving AGW would be an extremely roundabout and expensive way for Al Gore to score some investment gains: much easier to invest in traditional energy, than first change the way the entire civilization gets energy, then roll in the dough.

  • http://greenoptions.com/author/susan Susan Kraemer

    Climate legislation has been filibustered and stalled for years, by all but 4 Republicans: Collins and Snowe of 55% renewably powered Maine, and (till replaced by D’s last year: Smith(OR) and Coleman(MN)).

    Now that there are fewer Senate Republicans, only 40%, there is a better chance. Two or three Democrats could stall legislation too, but we are closer than in 20 years to getting good renewable energy legislation passed with about 59 pro renewable energy votes.

    US Fossil funding of congress has been the real problem preventing action. http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.php?ind=E01

    They don’t allow that in Europe.

    On the email drama: more tactics by Senator Inhofe’s Marc Morano (Swiftboater at NewsMax). They have been hounding all climate science for a decade, because fossil companies stand to lose if AGW climate change is true.

    Look at Inhofe’s fossil funding in that link, and you see the motive to delay action with new tactics (email hack revelation) right before Copenhagen. The previous tactic was “China and India won’t act so why should we”.

    Look at it logically:

    1. If the world switched to renewable energy, fossil companies would lose money.

    2. Conversely, spending 30 years proving AGW would be an extremely roundabout and expensive way for Al Gore to score some investment gains: much easier to invest in traditional energy, than first change the way the entire civilization gets energy, then roll in the dough.

  • http://extremegreenvillage.com Bob

    Doesn’t anyone wonder what the point these special restrictions the US has that keeps out these innovations?

    Why do we have these restrictions? What is the logic?

    Is this because we are backwards or is this because we are forward thinking in a way I don’t understand?

  • http://extremegreenvillage.com Bob

    Doesn’t anyone wonder what the point these special restrictions the US has that keeps out these innovations?

    Why do we have these restrictions? What is the logic?

    Is this because we are backwards or is this because we are forward thinking in a way I don’t understand?

  • Jim

    I think that Bob is onto the right question. Do the British have more lax NOx standards than US-CARB?

    Also, weight plays a big factor in gas mileage. If the cars are lighter but Americans won’t buy them because they’ll have to roll up the windows manually (gasp!), those cars will just sit on the lot, unsold, getting indeterminant mpg.

  • Jim

    I think that Bob is onto the right question. Do the British have more lax NOx standards than US-CARB?

    Also, weight plays a big factor in gas mileage. If the cars are lighter but Americans won’t buy them because they’ll have to roll up the windows manually (gasp!), those cars will just sit on the lot, unsold, getting indeterminant mpg.

  • Jim

    I think that Bob is onto the right question. Do the British have more lax NOx standards than US-CARB?

    Also, weight plays a big factor in gas mileage. If the cars are lighter but Americans won’t buy them because they’ll have to roll up the windows manually (gasp!), those cars will just sit on the lot, unsold, getting indeterminant mpg.

  • Tim Cleland

    “On the email drama: more tactics by Senator Inhofe’s Marc Morano (Swiftboater at NewsMax). They have been hounding all climate science for a decade, because fossil companies stand to lose if AGW climate change is true. ”

    Can we please try to be intellectually honest? Climategate is not some tactic cooked up by Inhofe.

    The researchers at CRU confirm that the emails are indeed theirs and that they have deleted the raw temperature data. Phil Jones stepped down from his post and there is now an investigation underway (in the UK) of all this.

    There are plenty of other reasons to promote energy conservation. If the emails plus the lack of warming over the past decade of the earth’s highest CO2 output ever don’t at least give you pause, then you should consider whether AGW has become a religion for you.

  • Tim Cleland

    “On the email drama: more tactics by Senator Inhofe’s Marc Morano (Swiftboater at NewsMax). They have been hounding all climate science for a decade, because fossil companies stand to lose if AGW climate change is true. ”

    Can we please try to be intellectually honest? Climategate is not some tactic cooked up by Inhofe.

    The researchers at CRU confirm that the emails are indeed theirs and that they have deleted the raw temperature data. Phil Jones stepped down from his post and there is now an investigation underway (in the UK) of all this.

    There are plenty of other reasons to promote energy conservation. If the emails plus the lack of warming over the past decade of the earth’s highest CO2 output ever don’t at least give you pause, then you should consider whether AGW has become a religion for you.

  • Brett Rasmussen

    True, the climate data manipulation at this organization is incredibly disturbing and should be investigated.

    That being said… that particular evidence is a drop in the bucket compared to the overwhelming evidence of climate change from countless other scientific sources.

    Is sea level data being manipulated? Ice cap reduction falcified? Glacial melt a hoax? I think not.

    It’s unfortunate that a few scientists’ shoddy work should cast doubt on the otherwise staggering evidence.

    Or is it more unfortunate that people still cannot see through the tactics used by the likes of Senator Inhofe? Or that we as Americans actually elect people like this to represent us?

  • Brett Rasmussen

    True, the climate data manipulation at this organization is incredibly disturbing and should be investigated.

    That being said… that particular evidence is a drop in the bucket compared to the overwhelming evidence of climate change from countless other scientific sources.

    Is sea level data being manipulated? Ice cap reduction falcified? Glacial melt a hoax? I think not.

    It’s unfortunate that a few scientists’ shoddy work should cast doubt on the otherwise staggering evidence.

    Or is it more unfortunate that people still cannot see through the tactics used by the likes of Senator Inhofe? Or that we as Americans actually elect people like this to represent us?

  • Brett Rasmussen

    True, the climate data manipulation at this organization is incredibly disturbing and should be investigated.

    That being said… that particular evidence is a drop in the bucket compared to the overwhelming evidence of climate change from countless other scientific sources.

    Is sea level data being manipulated? Ice cap reduction falcified? Glacial melt a hoax? I think not.

    It’s unfortunate that a few scientists’ shoddy work should cast doubt on the otherwise staggering evidence.

    Or is it more unfortunate that people still cannot see through the tactics used by the likes of Senator Inhofe? Or that we as Americans actually elect people like this to represent us?

  • http://www.elrst.com Edouard Stenger

    I guess American cars still have low mileage because there are no incentives for energy efficient cars in America.

    the United States nearly don’t tax gasoline compared to other OECD nations with less than ten euro cents of taxes per litre when France, Germany and many other pay as much as 60 euro cents per litre.

    Since gas is much more expansive in Europe cars are much more efficient.

    I believe that if America added a one dollar per gallon tax cars people would want much more efficient cars and the US government could fund cleantech projects as massively as it should to avoid problems inherent to both peak oil and climate change.

    For more on that, please check out this article :

    http://blog.cleantechies.com/2009/10/19/could-america-tax-gasoline-more-and-fund-clean-tech/

  • http://www.elrst.com Edouard Stenger

    I guess American cars still have low mileage because there are no incentives for energy efficient cars in America.

    the United States nearly don’t tax gasoline compared to other OECD nations with less than ten euro cents of taxes per litre when France, Germany and many other pay as much as 60 euro cents per litre.

    Since gas is much more expansive in Europe cars are much more efficient.

    I believe that if America added a one dollar per gallon tax cars people would want much more efficient cars and the US government could fund cleantech projects as massively as it should to avoid problems inherent to both peak oil and climate change.

    For more on that, please check out this article :

    http://blog.cleantechies.com/2009/10/19/could-america-tax-gasoline-more-and-fund-clean-tech/

  • http://greenoptions.com/author/susan Susan Kraemer

    Tim, so, you have kept all your paper docs from the 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s – even after transfering all the data into computers.

    The emails at one site, even going back decades, haven’t revealed anything to change all the thousands of records from scientists around the world showing the evidence of climate change.

    If anything they reveal the level of persistent attack by the fossil energy delayer industry, through their front groups, for decades.

  • http://greenoptions.com/author/susan Susan Kraemer

    Tim, so, you have kept all your paper docs from the 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s – even after transfering all the data into computers.

    The emails at one site, even going back decades, haven’t revealed anything to change all the thousands of records from scientists around the world showing the evidence of climate change.

    If anything they reveal the level of persistent attack by the fossil energy delayer industry, through their front groups, for decades.

  • http://greenoptions.com/author/susan Susan Kraemer

    Tim, so, you have kept all your paper docs from the 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s – even after transfering all the data into computers.

    The emails at one site, even going back decades, haven’t revealed anything to change all the thousands of records from scientists around the world showing the evidence of climate change.

    If anything they reveal the level of persistent attack by the fossil energy delayer industry, through their front groups, for decades.

  • Tim Cleland

    But they didn’t just delete the original data after transferring it to a computer, they first changed the data (i.e. calling it “value added”) then deleted the original data.

    It’s not that this is just one group that was caught, this is THE MAIN group of climate scientists. They have a direct line to the IPCC. They are to climate science what Neils Bohr, Wolfgang Pauli, Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Paul Dirac, etc. were to quantum physics. It’s very disturbing.

    Note, I’m not claiming that AGW is itself a hoax. My own belief is that the urgency of AGW is the hoax. If you’d have polled all the climate science community back in 2000 to estimate what the sea level rise would be by 2010 if we did nothing and China’s and India’s economies crew by 8-12% per year (which, of course, turned out to be the case) my guess is that you’d have gotten an average estimate somewhere in the 1 to 10 ft range.

    Well, it turns out that the real number is somewhere between 2 to 3 centimeters or approximately 1 inch.

    And don’t think there isn’t plenty of money to made on the promotion of AGW as a catastrophe in waiting. Al Gore has sold books, made a movie, won the Nobel Prize ($1.4 million), and he makes a bundle charging for his speeches.

  • Tim Cleland

    But they didn’t just delete the original data after transferring it to a computer, they first changed the data (i.e. calling it “value added”) then deleted the original data.

    It’s not that this is just one group that was caught, this is THE MAIN group of climate scientists. They have a direct line to the IPCC. They are to climate science what Neils Bohr, Wolfgang Pauli, Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Paul Dirac, etc. were to quantum physics. It’s very disturbing.

    Note, I’m not claiming that AGW is itself a hoax. My own belief is that the urgency of AGW is the hoax. If you’d have polled all the climate science community back in 2000 to estimate what the sea level rise would be by 2010 if we did nothing and China’s and India’s economies crew by 8-12% per year (which, of course, turned out to be the case) my guess is that you’d have gotten an average estimate somewhere in the 1 to 10 ft range.

    Well, it turns out that the real number is somewhere between 2 to 3 centimeters or approximately 1 inch.

    And don’t think there isn’t plenty of money to made on the promotion of AGW as a catastrophe in waiting. Al Gore has sold books, made a movie, won the Nobel Prize ($1.4 million), and he makes a bundle charging for his speeches.

  • Tim Cleland

    But they didn’t just delete the original data after transferring it to a computer, they first changed the data (i.e. calling it “value added”) then deleted the original data.

    It’s not that this is just one group that was caught, this is THE MAIN group of climate scientists. They have a direct line to the IPCC. They are to climate science what Neils Bohr, Wolfgang Pauli, Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Paul Dirac, etc. were to quantum physics. It’s very disturbing.

    Note, I’m not claiming that AGW is itself a hoax. My own belief is that the urgency of AGW is the hoax. If you’d have polled all the climate science community back in 2000 to estimate what the sea level rise would be by 2010 if we did nothing and China’s and India’s economies crew by 8-12% per year (which, of course, turned out to be the case) my guess is that you’d have gotten an average estimate somewhere in the 1 to 10 ft range.

    Well, it turns out that the real number is somewhere between 2 to 3 centimeters or approximately 1 inch.

    And don’t think there isn’t plenty of money to made on the promotion of AGW as a catastrophe in waiting. Al Gore has sold books, made a movie, won the Nobel Prize ($1.4 million), and he makes a bundle charging for his speeches.

  • rich EE

    ” Why doesn’t Ford make cars like that here? ”

    The interesting thing about this innovation

    is that it is NOT a hybrid . They use the regenerative braking to charge the battery

    instead of having the alternator put a heavy

    drag on the engine .

    Apparently they have reduced the amount of alternator drag on the engine .

    But if the battery needs extra charge , the engine will stay idling when the car is stopped .

    These changes could be done to a gasoline engine car too . I expect this would work well for city driving but mileage would not be improved on the highway especially with lights on , A/C on etc . Perhaps this is the answer to the above question .

    I expect that Americans do a lot of highway driving at night with the A/C on ; Europeans less so .

    Thus this car would not be as useful for

    American style driving .

  • rich EE

    ” Why doesn’t Ford make cars like that here? ”

    The interesting thing about this innovation

    is that it is NOT a hybrid . They use the regenerative braking to charge the battery

    instead of having the alternator put a heavy

    drag on the engine .

    Apparently they have reduced the amount of alternator drag on the engine .

    But if the battery needs extra charge , the engine will stay idling when the car is stopped .

    These changes could be done to a gasoline engine car too . I expect this would work well for city driving but mileage would not be improved on the highway especially with lights on , A/C on etc . Perhaps this is the answer to the above question .

    I expect that Americans do a lot of highway driving at night with the A/C on ; Europeans less so .

    Thus this car would not be as useful for

    American style driving .

  • rich EE

    ” Why doesn’t Ford make cars like that here? ”

    The interesting thing about this innovation

    is that it is NOT a hybrid . They use the regenerative braking to charge the battery

    instead of having the alternator put a heavy

    drag on the engine .

    Apparently they have reduced the amount of alternator drag on the engine .

    But if the battery needs extra charge , the engine will stay idling when the car is stopped .

    These changes could be done to a gasoline engine car too . I expect this would work well for city driving but mileage would not be improved on the highway especially with lights on , A/C on etc . Perhaps this is the answer to the above question .

    I expect that Americans do a lot of highway driving at night with the A/C on ; Europeans less so .

    Thus this car would not be as useful for

    American style driving .

  • http://www.moteurnature.com/ Moteur Nature

    The Prius is rated at 60.3 MPG in the european official test. So the Focus looks better, but that’s with diesel fuel which has a slightly higher carbon content than gasoline. I haven’t driven that Focus, but I’m pretty sure the Prius is a nicer drive in city driving with a more educated drivetrain. The Focus has a manual and can only compare on the highway.

  • http://www.moteurnature.com/ Moteur Nature

    The Prius is rated at 60.3 MPG in the european official test. So the Focus looks better, but that’s with diesel fuel which has a slightly higher carbon content than gasoline. I haven’t driven that Focus, but I’m pretty sure the Prius is a nicer drive in city driving with a more educated drivetrain. The Focus has a manual and can only compare on the highway.

  • http://www.moteurnature.com/ Moteur Nature

    The Prius is rated at 60.3 MPG in the european official test. So the Focus looks better, but that’s with diesel fuel which has a slightly higher carbon content than gasoline. I haven’t driven that Focus, but I’m pretty sure the Prius is a nicer drive in city driving with a more educated drivetrain. The Focus has a manual and can only compare on the highway.

  • http://carbase.com auto dealer software

    Yes but it probably won’t pull my boat.

  • http://carbase.com auto dealer software

    Yes but it probably won’t pull my boat.

  • http://carbase.com auto dealer software

    Yes but it probably won’t pull my boat.

  • http://Web Jim Rock

    Explaining this on the basis of the Kyoto agreement is wrong. They may have signed the agreement, but when I lived in Ireland for several years none of the European countries were even making a halfhearted attempt to meet what they agreed to.

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