Ford Says Tougher Fuel Rules are Doable

by : Anthony Fontanelle

According to Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Allan Mullaly, his company will meet the tougher Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards by slashing their big vehicles with lower fuel economy ratings.

"Our commitment is to improve the fuel efficiency of all the vehicles no matter what the size,'' Mulally said after signing a new four-year contract with the United Auto Workers.

The new CAFE which is under negotiation in the American Congressional House will require all vehicle fleet in the automotive industry including the sport utility vehicles, pick-up trucks, and even trucks to have an average fuel efficiency rate of 35 miles per gallon by 2020. Compared to the 2008 requirement of 27.5 mpg average for cars and 22 mpg for light trucks, the new standard might seem unachievable at first. For 30 years, it is the first fuel efficiency bill ordered by the congress.

Some prominent Democrats would like to include the CAFE issue in the several topics being debated in the American legislative body. Energy legislation issues gaining many reactions from prominent leaders include the $90 per barrel of oil price, $3 per gallon and the never ending issues on global warming. Debates on these matters are scheduled to take place this week.

But Sen. Carl Levin (D-MIch.) noted the measure still must go through both chambers as part of the larger energy bill.

''It's up to the leadership on whether or not the bill can be called up in a few weeks,'' Levin said Monday at an appearance in Detroit. ''The Senate is a place where you can add amendments. In the Senate, they always have the right to raise issues. They don't have the kind of limits we have in the House.''

For a long time, environmentalist groups had been fiercely seeking for bills such as the new CAFE. For them there is no other way to lessen gas emissions and gain access to fuel-efficient technology but through tough fuel standards.

The new legislation will force automakers to upscale their development in making eco-friendly and fuel efficient vehicles like gas-electric hybrids, hydrogen fueled cars and vehicles to run on ethanol fuel. It may seem heavy cargos for automakers to carry; but they might as well be tougher than if they are to survive this new challenge.

Executive Chairman Bill Ford said Monday it will be a stretch to meet the 35 mpg standard, but he is confident Ford can do it.

''We have to do it, and we have the best people in the industry getting ready to do it,'' he said.