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Feds loan Ford billions toward fuel efficiency

By Steve Carmody, Michigan Public Radio Network

DEARBORN, MI – Ford's effort to build more fuel efficient cars and trucks is getting a nearly $6 billion boost from the Obama Administration.

The money comes from a $25 billion loan program designed to help all automakers that manufacture vehicles in the US. In addition to Ford, the federal government is giving a combined $2 billion to Nissan and electric car maker Tesla.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu says the federal loan will help Ford significantly improve the fuel efficiency of the Focus, F-150 and other vehicles.

"We estimate these upgrades will lead to fuel savings of more than 200 million gallons a year," he said. "With gas prices around $2.60 cents a gallon, this means savings of more than a half billion dollars a year for American families."

General Motors and Chrysler have submitted their own applications.

Chu would not say if there is money set aside for the struggling Detroit automakers, but he says there should be enough funding available.

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