Ford Killed Off Its Sedans. Scott Pruitt Can Take the Credit.

This is the Ford Mustang, the only sedan that will be left in Ford's product line by 2020. Its fuel economy is an SUV-like 18-25 mpg.Ford Motor Company

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

Last week Ford announced that they were discontinuing production of nearly all their sedans. From now on, it would just be trucks and SUVs.

The proximate cause of this, I assumed, is that low gas prices have driven higher demand for SUVs and lower demand for gas-sipping cars. And that’s part of it. But there’s another thing at work: high mileage sedans are necessary to meet federal CAFE standards, which apply to a carmaker’s entire fleet. At least, they used to be necessary. Dan Neil thinks this is what’s really behind Ford’s decision:

In my view, Ford’s announcement last week was about the weather in Washington, D.C. Management has calculated that it will no longer need the mileage offsets from sales of smaller, less-profitable vehicle lines to meet its CAFE obligations. Last month Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt announced an effort to roll back the 2025 standards hammered out by the agency and automakers during the Obama administration. It is also widely expected that Mr. Pruitt will go after California’s waiver under the Clean Air Act allowing it (and 11 other states) to set its own tailpipe rules.

Who needs fuel economy? Not the US of A! And with higher fuel economy standards about to get deep sixed by the Trump administration, why bother making all those crummy little tin cans that you never really wanted to make in the first place?

By the way, a recent study funded by the Pentagon found that a bunch of Pacific atolls that host billions of dollars of military hardware will probably be underwater—or close to it—within a few decades. But don’t worry. A few more years of driving around in SUVs is worth it.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate