Ford Motor Company president and chief executive officer Alan Mulally gave the keynote speech at the Washington Auto Show today, touting Ford's product line-up and "best in class" attitude. What we were interested in, though, was Ford's efforts in making more efficient vehicles – and making them more appealing.

Mulally said that fuel efficiency is moving up the list of features consumers are interested in, and because Ford is such a large company, when it makes cleaner vehicles it has a tremendous impact on CO2 emissions. When we asked about Mulally's previous support of a higher gas tax and what he described today as his company's "fundamental partnership" with the U.S. government, he said:
What we've been supportive of, along with everybody, is a fundamental energy policy going forward that supports our needs as citizens of the United States. I'm very pleased that we continue to work on that in Congress. As far as a gas tax itself, that is one item that could be used in a comprehensive energy policy. We haven't selected that one at the exclusion of other parts of an energy policy, but clearly, we have adopted a point of view that we all are going to pay more for energy going forward because there is a fundamental mismatch between demand worldwide and capacity. It's not like the fossil fuels are not there, but the bigger pools have been found and it takes more time and more money to bring them to market. You combine that will all of our desire to have better energy independence, better security and we are going to continue to work with the U.S. government about what those policies should be to move us forward.
Mulally added that Ford's number one fuel economy priority is to improve the efficiency of combustion engines, both diesel and gasoline. Ford, of course, has strong hybrid and pure electric vehicle development programs, but the near term, as always, will be dominated by burning fossil fuels.

Our travel and lodging for this media event was provided by the Auto Alliance.

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