We've been pretty impressed by Ford's turnaround. Some of you in the comments section disagree, but, frankly, we can't see how stylish and affordable choices like the Taurus, Edge and multiple award-winning Fusion; peppy, attractive small cars like the Focus and Fiesta; and a serious muscle contender like the Mustang -- all coupled with an eye toward overdelivering serious in-car tech -- could be considered anything but steps in the right direction.
Given all that, this is disappointing news.
The Detroit Free Press is reporting that Ford plans on keeping its promise from 2006 that it will double its amount of flex-fuel vehicles (numbering, at the time, 185,000) by this year.
Most of us who write for Exhaust Notes have made no secret of the fact that E85 fuel -- a mixture of 85 percent corn-based ethanol and 15 percent gasoline -- is a joke, nothing more than a business concession to the Big Corn lobby (and no one is more adamant about this fact than Lawrence Ulrich, who's written about the subject extensively). E85 is a less efficient fuel than gasoline (meaning it generates less energy per gallon), and the claims that it's somehow a "greener" fuel are murky at best and, based on the energy requirements of the production methods, a sham at worst.
We don't want to speculate as to Ford's play with all of this, but it's a step in the wrong direction. At a time when the need for smart fuel solutions -- not to mention the potential profit from such solutions -- are sorely needed, a continued push for a proven loser is a waste of energy -- literally.