Obama: Taxpayer Dollars for Green SUVs

by Henry Payne

Back home this morning on the latest leg of his “Mission Accomplished” tour, President Obama spoke at Ford’s Chicago assembly plant where he celebrated a green, $6 billon federal loan to build Ford’s new. . . . gas-guzzling Ford Explorer SUV?

Obama is touting his transformation of U.S. automakers into designers of lean, mean, fuel-efficient fighting machines. “Ford dedicated itself to increasing fuel efficiency of more than a dozen of its models. And the Department of Energy awarded Ford a two-year loan commitment to help make that happen,” said Obama. “And Ford used that loan to retool this factory to build the next-generation Explorer. That’s a model that will be up to 30 percent more fuel efficient.”

A fuel-efficient, 6-cylinder, 17 mpg SUV. Well, it depends on what your definition of “fuel-efficient” is. Because, while most buyers of the new Explorer will likely opt for the 6-cylinder engine, Ford is responding to strict new federal mpg rules by also offering a 23 mpg, 4-cylinder turbocharged Ecoboost engine (which explains the the 30 percent increase over the current six). Will consumers buy a 4-cylinder engine in a 4600-lb. vehicle? Will anyone buy the line that 23 mpg is “fuel-efficient” car?

That seems a stretch. But so is the claim that SUVs are green cars deserving DOE money.