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FEBRUARY 25, 1999   3:07 PM
CONTACT: Sierra Club
Allen Mattison, 202-675-7903
Dan Becker, 202-547-1141
Ford's New Gas-Guzzling SUV Wins "Exxon Valdez" Award

WASHINGTON - February 25 - The Sierra Club today awarded Ford Motor Company the "Exxon Valdez Award" for environmental destruction to recognize Ford's newest sport-utility vehicle (SUV), the Excursion. To be christened Sunday, the Excursion is a four-ton "super duty" sport utility vehicle that guzzles enough gas to make Saddam Hussein smile. At a time of mounting concern over global warming, air pollution, and oil exploration in fragile wilderness areas, the gas-guzzling SUV is a rolling monument to environmental destruction.

The nine-passenger Excursion is a suburban supertanker, stretching over 19 feet in length and slurping one gallon of gasoline for every 12 miles it travels.

This "suburban assault vehicle" spews as much global warming pollution into the air as two average cars.

"The Excursion guzzles gas and pollutes the air," said Daniel Becker, Director of the Sierra Club's Global Warming and Energy Program. "It's basically a garbage truck that dumps its pollution into the sky."

The Excursion is so large that it won't be classified as a "light vehicle," the category for normal-sized cars, trucks and SUVs. The Sierra Club is urging the Clinton Administration to strengthen clean-air laws so the Excursion and other SUVs will be allowed to pollute no more than cars.

"The Ford Excursion is a rolling ad for improving auto pollution standards," Becker said. "The Clinton Administration is deciding how much to restrict pollution from SUVs, and their proposal has a loophole big enough to drive a Ford Excursion through. Ford has cost-effective technology sitting on the shelf that would improve gas mileage and cut pollution. That technology would more than pay for itself for consumers in lower gasoline costs."

Last year the Sierra Club held a tongue-in-cheek contest on the internet to "Name That Gas Guzzler." Web surfers who visited the site offered humorous names and slogans for Ford's then-unnamed behemoth.

The Sierra Club's winning name for Ford's new road hog was "The Ford Valdez -- Have You Driven a Tanker Lately?" Ford Motor Company has apparently decided not to use the Sierra Club's suggestion.

Ford's Excursion was conspicuously absent from their display at the Detroit Auto Show in January. At a time Ford Motor Company is stressing a newfound commitment to the environment, the massive gas-guzzler projects the wrong image.

On December 21, 1998, Business Week quoted a Ford insider as saying, "The Excursion isn't a thing you want to roll out with trumpets and brass bands."

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