Ford Motor Company will be converting factories across Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio to produce more fuel efficient car models, thanks to a loan from the Department of Energy. The $5.9 billion is part of the DOE's Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program, which supports the development of innovative, advanced vehicle technologies to create thousands of clean energy jobs while helping reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil. The loan for Ford Motor Company is the first to be finalized since the program was appropriated in the fall of 2008, according to the DOE.
News of the loan follows the Obama administration's recently announced requirement of an average fuel economy of 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016. The new standard is expected to reduce oil consumption by an estimated 1.8 billion barrels, prevent greenhouse gas emissions of approximately 950 million metric tons, and save consumers more than $3,000 in fuel costs. Ford's loan from the DOE will enable it to meet those targets.
"This investment is part of our commitment to creating the clean energy jobs of the future while supporting American innovation," US Energy Secretary Steven Chu says. "We can revitalize the American auto industry and at the same time reduce our dependence on oil and cut our carbon pollution."
The DOE issued a conditional loan commitment to Ford in June to finance as much as 80 percent of qualified expenditures to improve the efficiency of light vehicles by using technologies that improve internal combustion engines and transmissions, reduce vehicle weight, reduce vehicle drag with more aerodynamic designs, and improve vehicle efficiency through the development of hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles. The loan proceeds will allow Ford to raise the fuel efficiency of more than a dozen popular models, the DOE reports, representing close to two million new vehicles annually, and save more than 200 million gallons of gas a year.