DETROIT – Automakers are expected to meet with President Donald Trump this week to consider adjusting downward gas mileage regulations.
The plan isn't sitting well with environmental groups who came to Detroit Tuesday to let one of the carmakers know about their disappointment.
In 2011, when the Obama administration had just bailed two of the American automakers out of bankruptcy, tougher fuel economy standards were imposed. They set 2018 as the year to re-examine whether it was working, and environmental groups want the Obama-era standards to stay where they are.
Half a dozen environmental groups brought their fight from Washington to Detroit, claiming to have brought a quarter of a million petition signatures with them to demonstrate America's desire to keep the fuel economy standards moving upward.
They drove a Ford sedan spewing disco-era fog and built a paper mache dark cloud over it to show what the automakers and the president are up to.
Ford is centered in the crosshairs, according to public citizens activist Madeline Page.
"Its chairman proclaims climate change an urgent moral problem, and yet, as we speak, Ford and its trade association is working with the Trump administration to undo the biggest climate program we have on the books in this country," Page said.
The group had signatures on a flash drive, and they intended to walk the signatures into the glass house, but Ford wasn't having it. The parking lot was cornered off and a security officer took the flash drive inside.
"We continue to support increasing clean car standards through 2025 and are not asking for a rollback," Ford said in a statement. "Importantly, we want one set of standards nationally, along with additional flexibility to help us provide more affordable options for our customers. We believe that working together with EPA, NHTSA and California, we can deliver on this standard."
William Clay Ford Jr. is the chairman and has maintained that he believes climate change is real. He said Ford will do its part to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Some analysts, however, have said for years that the standards set by the Obama administration weren't attainable in the out years through 2025, which is why the review was set for this year.