Greenwashing Ford's SUVs

"The launching of the 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid this fall marks an auto industry first: the coupling of a hybrid electric engine, containing the most energy-efficient fuel system available, with an SUV, the least efficient class of passenger vehicle," writes Geoffrey Johnson. The Escape Hybrid won't do much to improve the environment, and Ford isn't expected to make money on it either. Johnson concludes that Ford, which has the worst fleetwide fuel economy of any major U.S. auto manufacturer, is engaged in "a clear-cut case of 'greenwashing.' Ford hopes to mold a public perception that Ford has gone green, that the company is a model of corporate responsibility. ... In the end, the slick images and exaggerated claims of greenwashing by Ford and others divert our attention from the corporate-fueled environmental destruction taking place all around us. And that means that greenwashing, far from promoting a better world, is itself a serious environmental problem."