Day 45: MI, Dearborn: visiting the birthplace of our little car

OK so FORD didn’t offer to reimburse YERT for the Escape Hybrid we bought, or explain why Paris Hilton got the free one. (Ford has since contacted us to let us know that they did NOT, in fact, give Paris Hilton a free Hybrid but they did give her a free RIDE in a hybrid. So… must have been mistaken. We apologize for any error – We took our info from treeugger.) But we did get an escorted tour of the facility and the museum, some P/R pamphlets explaining how green are Ford’s pastures at the Rouge facility, and a “global warming” mug with a map of the world, whose coastlines disappear when you add hot water (which was not free but which i totally could not refrain from buying from the FORD giftshop, without looking to see the Made in China label on the bottom, oooh Bad Yerter).

While FORD still creates some pretty heavy, gas-guzzling automobiles, their Escape Hybrid is the most fuel-efficient American-made vehicle (Ok, Ford also put us straight on this erroneous note, as the most efficient American-made car is certainly NOT any SUV, hybrid or otherwise – it is actually the Ford Focus at 37mpg. So, The Escape is the most fuel efficient American-made SUV. Duly noted. All you American carlovers out there, now you know.) and the Dearborn Rouge Center does have some impressive “green” facets: the largest “living roof” in the world (planted with sedum, a very low-growing succulent creeper that doesn’t rely on consistent rainfall to thrive), porous pavement that catches and filters rainwater for reuse within the plant’s cooling system (leaving the Rouge River thankfully out of the equation), a “bigfoot” cooling system which i don’t exactly understand but which basically relies on tall space, gravity and physics (rather than electrical push power) to regulate temp within the facility, and a very interesting “fumes to fuel” technology that apparently captures toxic paint fumes and turns them into energy – again something that I don’t understand, but which seems on the surface to be heading in the right direction.

What we’re hoping to address in MI: How raising CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards can be viewed as a GOOD thing for automakers instead of the evil jobs/revenue thief it is perceived as presently. LOL No idea how to do that. Any ideas? Anyone? If Japan has been making cars that average 40 mpg for 10 yrs, why is it that American automakers/consumers can’t seem to make that happen in our country? welcoming any thoughts…

and here is the car of my dreams…if only someone could convert it to electric for my birthday…

*(Editor’s Note: Ford has contacted us to correct our claim about Paris Hilton getting a free Ford Escape Hybrid, which we originally found through treehugger at In response, Ford wrote the following to us: “We did not provide Paris Hilton with a free car. She attended an event that Ford Escape Hybrid sponsored in LA. We did have VIP chauffering by Escape Hybrids, and she did receive a ride to/from the event. But, no free car. She did say that she wants one, so we’ll have to see how that plays out.”)
*(Editor’s note: this should read American-made SUV. The Escape hybrid averages 32 mpg while the Ford Focus averages 37 mpg, as does the Chevy Aveo.)

3 thoughts on “Day 45: MI, Dearborn: visiting the birthplace of our little car


    I didn’t vote for this one in the last poll, but then I just saw the movie a few days ago -my jaw dropped several times and I frequently exclaimed, “Wow.”

    Right now I’m sort of in a state of disbelief over how the whole thing fell apart, or rather, was dismantled. And I’m particularly concerned about the new ethanol craze, especially more so after reading an article in the latest issue of Rolling Stone:

    It’s great that Ford has built a more eco-conscientious factory and vehicle, but I feel it’s all a really sly spin so people will feel like Ford and other companies are really do something for the environment, when the truth is they could have already done and be doing so much more.

    One example of the spin being an advertisement for the new hybrid Chevy Tahoe touting it as the highest rated mpg for any SUV on the road, and then of course when you read the fine print at the bottom of the page you see it’s only a whopping 14 mpg.

    You mention the CAFE standards, and for me, being the skeptic that I am, the one statement in the movie that struck me as the most relevant was this: “It took a law to put seatbelts in the car. It took a law to put a catalytic converter in the car. It took a law to raise fuel efficiency. It’s going to take a law to get electric cars on the road.” Which is exactly what California tried to do until it caved under pressure and the threat of being sued by the automobile industry.

    So, I now know who killed the electric car, but while you’re in Detroit, are you hearing any news about who’s building them now?

    Check out for help getting started.

    Pittsburgh misses you!

    love and cheers,
    Sean Mac

    p.s. check out what your friend Bill Peduto is up to.

  2. Hey guys… we want to know… where did you get data/info on Japanese-manufactured cars’ fuel efficiency (over 10 years)? We had a lightweight Honda civic HX (1997) that averaged @38 mpg and that was the best we found at the time…. Are you rounding up, or was there better stuff out there?

  3. No, we were only comparing the Ford to other American-made cars. We are painfully aware that all American-made cars are generally the least efficient cars in the world… 🙁

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