Ford Motor Co. announced Thursday it has partnered to create a Web site that gives drivers concerned about greenhouse emissions an opportunity to invest in clean energy projects.
In a program called “Greener Miles,” consumers can go to www.terrapass.com/ford to calculate the amount of carbon dioxide produced in one year of driving. The Web site will then suggest an investment linked to the cost of producing an amount of clean energy equivalent to the carbon dioxide produced.
Ford is partnering with TerraPass, a group that helps finance solar, wind and methane-driven energy projects, for the project, Niel Golightly, director of Ford’s sustainable business strategies, told Reuters in an interview.
“We know that there is a growing number of customers out there that are starting to raise questions about this whole subject of climate change and energy security ... and looking for things they can do to address it,” Golightly said.
The consumer contributions -- ranging from $29.95 to $79.95 annually depending on the type of vehicle, amount of carbon dioxide emitted and miles traveled -- will be invested in U.S.-based projects such as wind power energy or making power from dairy farm manure.
An average car produces between 10,000 pounds and 12,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, said Tom Arnold, TerraPass' chief environmental officer.
The initial projects that would benefit from contributions from Ford buyers are a wind farm in Ainsworth, Neb., and Haubenschild Farms near Princeton, Minn., which converts manure into electricity, he said.
In exchange, consumers get a sticker for their windshield verifying the offset of carbon dioxide the vehicle emits.
Ford said it has no plans to run a broad-based advertising campaign for the initiative.
Instead, Ford dealers will be given brochures on the project and consumers will be directed to the Web site from several Ford product sites, Arnold said.
Arnold said it was hard to say how many consumers will participate in the project.
Ford Chairman and Chief Executive Bill Ford, great-grandson of the company founder and a lifelong environmentalist, has made efforts to portray the automaker as an environmentally aware “green” company.
But the company and Bill Ford have often been the target of environmental groups that decry the company’s dismal fuel economy record.
Golightly said Ford is also working to improve the fuel-efficiency of its fleet, investing in alternative-fuel vehicles and working to reduce emissions from its factories.
The Greener Miles project “is a very incremental part of our overall climate change policy,” Golightly said. “This is an opportunity for us to engage our consumers a bit more.”