Protestors from activist groups Public Citizen, the Sierra Club, the Safe Climate Campaign, and Interfaith Power & Light crashed the Washington Auto Show to conduct protests. The organizations say that they were protesting Ford and the pollution that its vehicles produce each year, and are aiming to “highlight Ford’s lobbying of the Trump Administration” to reduce fuel economy standards and the support the organizations claim Ford has given the Trump administration on its plan to roll back Obama-era fuel economy standards. The protest groups also unveiled a letter they sent to 20 automakers that called on the automakers to support the Obama-era fuel economy standards.
The protest included a ten-foot-tall, inflatable T-rex dinosaur, and activists in dinosaur costumes near the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, where the Washington Auto Show takes place. What’s the deal with the T-Rex? Protest groups claim that the annual pollution emitted from the Ford Expedition is nine tons, which they claim is equivalent to the weight of a T-Rex dinosaur. The groups don’t specify what “annual pollution” means, but the assumption is carbon dioxide emissions.
A quick Google search to confirm the numbers the protestors claim in their press release shows that the groups seem to have taken liberties with the numbers. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Fueleconomy.gov website lists the estimated yearly tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions for the 2019 Ford Expedition not matching the claims claimed by the protestors. According to Fueleconomy.gov, the 2019 Ford Expedition 2WD produces 7.5 tons per year of carbon dioxide emissions, and the 4WD version produces 7.8 tons per year.
The larger 2019 Ford Expedition Max 2WD produces 7.7 tons of carbon dioxide per year while the 4WD produces an estimated 8.2 tons. As for the weight of a T-rex, no one seems to have an exact number, but some sources estimate the weight for a T-rex at anywhere between 13 and 32 tons. Where the protest organizations obtained their numbers is anyone’s guess. The Sierra Club has used questionable numbers in its claims in the past, alleging that the Ford Model T had a fuel economy rating of 25 mpg. Ford disputed the Sierra Club’s fuel economy numbers, stating that the vehicle got somewhere in the vicinity of 13 to 21 mpg. The model didn’t undergo fuel economy testing in its day.
Meanwhile, President Trump is working on rolling back fuel economy standards enacted by the Obama administration. When announcing a review of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, the POTUS stated that the goal was to encourage automakers to build more of their cars in the United States.
Many automakers had expressed concern over the 54.5 mpg fleet-wide average imposed by the Obama administration, stating that it’s unfeasible when consumer buying trends for large SUVs and trucks were taken into account. The Obama-era standards forced many automakers to develop electric and hybrid cars to meet fleetwide standards, which few consumers are buying.
Whether the protestors achieved their goals is anyone’s guess… but we wonder why they didn’t also protest other automakers who product full-size SUVs similar to the Expedition, such as GM’s Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban, GMC Yukon/Yukon XL, Toyota Sequoia and Land Cruiser, or the Nissan Armada.