Stupid Environmental Tricks #1: Free Gasoline

I was already planning to document some products that are marketed as eco-friendly that fail miserably when this story crossed my radar.

In order to promote its “EcoBoost” truck, Ford is hosting a contest for which the prize is free fuel, not only to the driver for a year, but to an entire city for a little over 2 hours. Now, 2 hours of fuel isn’t going to suck dry the wells or tip us into permanent smog but it certainly sends the wrong message.

I won’t get into the question of whether the “eco” label should be applied to an oversize truck to begin with; some people legitimately need these types of vehicles for work. But as Steve Mouzon is fond of saying: the most energy efficient machine is the one that’s turned off. Hybrid cars will do the environment no good if we drive them twice as far and efficient gadgets won’t help if we leave them on four times as long. The worst thing we can possibly do for the environment is give away or artificially lower the cost of fuel or energy. If people are going to be wasteful at least let them pay their own way (Libertarian alert).

A better plan might have been to follow SmartCar’s lead and promote a bicycle, but I can see how that might not appeal to their customer base.

Now of course people buy fuel efficient vehicles for different reasons. Some don’t care about the environmental impact at all but rather about saving money on fuel. But in this case given that they are placing the “Eco” label on their truck this is an incredibly silly/(disingenuous/vacuous) promotion, almost as bad as politicians requesting a Gas Tax Holiday in the summer of 2008.

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