Speaking of trying to get around while going green, the metro's been getting some shit lately from the smog police. Thanks to all our cars coughing up smog, the Environmental Protection Agency has demanded that the metro come up with a plan to clean up its act. And driving slower in your Escalade won't cut it.
With power plants and industrial manufacturing and thousands of cars adding to the problem, you'd think we would need the likes of Al "Internet Creator" Gore to solve this one.
But actually, part of the solution may already exist. Ford sells a car so clean, it's called a "partial zero-emission vehicle" — or PZEV. It runs 75 percent cleaner than the average 2008 model.
Well, the folks at Ford don't think that we Midwest bumpkins are ready for that kind of eco-ethic.
Call up any Ford dealer in town, and the sales staff likely will have no clue what you're talking about if you ask for a PZEV. Ford doesn't sell them in Missouri or Kansas.
The hangup is that the Clean Air Act makes it illegal to sell them here. John Millett, a spokesman for the EPA, says car companies can choose to certify their PZEVs for sale only in states with stricter California standards or across the country. Millett says manufacturers could start selling these rides in the Midwest with the flick of a pen, but Ford chooses to certify its PZEVs only in the states where the law requires the lower emissions rating.
"The question should be put to Ford: If these PZEVs are so great, why not sell them here?" Millett says.
Ford — which operates a plant here in Claycomo — apparently thinks Kansas City is too backward to appreciate the cleaner cars. Kristen Kinley, Ford's environmental and legal communications director, says demand for the greener cars is too low to sell them here. Because the engines are "premium build," she says, they cost a bit more to manufacture (though she won't disclose how much). So with 2008 models rolling out, don't expect any PZEVs to make it to the Midwest.
For Cowtowners, the cleaner car is just California dreaming.