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BOSTON -- Two of the world’s largest automakers, Ford and Volkswagen, announced at the Detroit Auto Show that they’re teaming up to build vehicles together. Although they are starting by developing commercial vans and medium-sized pickups, the companies agreed to "investigate" how they can work together to develop next generation vehicles, such as electric cars.
Transportation is the largest source of global warming emissions in the United States, and gas-powered cars and trucks account for a majority of that pollution. Electric vehicles have grown in popularity over the past few years, but still only represent slightly more than 1 percent of all vehicles sold in the nation in 2017.
In 2016, Volkswagen admitted to cheating emissions control laws and agreed to a $14.7 billion settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice to reimburse consumers and mitigate the environmental damage it caused. Late last year, while acknowledging its past wrongdoing, Volkswagen announced its next generation of internal combustion engine vehicles would be its last.
Matt Casale, U.S. PIRG’s transportation campaign director, issued the following statement:
“For too long, the auto industry has polluted our air and put the health of the public and the environment at risk by opposing efforts to regulate strict fuel economy standards. We are glad that Ford and Volkswagen have agreed to investigate ways they can work together to develop electric vehicles. We hope they take swift action to bring more clean vehicles to the road.
During the ‘dieselgate’ scandal, Volkswagen breached the trust of its customers and far exceeded pollution limits. VW has a lot to atone for. If the settlement inspired the company’s newfound commitment to electric vehicles, then we should thank those involved in exposing their wrongdoing and making them pay.
Americans want want cars that are cleaner, more energy efficient and save them money in fuel costs. Electric cars fit the bill. We have an opportunity to make a positive change after more than a century of vehicles spewing pollutants into the air and our lungs. We hope to see Ford and Volkswagen use their new partnership to plug into this opportunity.”
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