Ford develops ambitious, private plan to reduce emissions

Top executives at Ford Motor Co. have set an aggressive goal to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions — a goal that would require a roughly 80 percent improvement in the fuel economy of the company’s cars and trucks by 2030. The motives behind the goal, which the company has not announced publicly, are complex. It’s a business opportunity: Toyota, which has moved aggressively into the hybrid market, is seeing profits that put American car companies to shame. It’s a matter of strategy: According to Merrill Lynch analyst John Casesa, “we are entering a world where we will have a more conservation-oriented energy policy and that will require companies to comply, or face the cost of not complying.” And it’s a matter of principle: By all accounts, Ford Jr. genuinely takes global warming seriously. Enviros might take note of the fact that the company did not announce the goal publicly — a move that could send shock waves through the industry — because activists have hounded Ford for falling short of ambitious goals in the past.