Analysis: Ford CEO 'Green' Road Trip to Cost $23,000 in Lost Wages

     It may have been nothing but a publicity stunt, but it didn’t come cheap for Ford Motor Company CEO Alan R. Mulally.


     After being embarrassed in front of a congressional committee for flying in a private jet to ask Congress for a bailout, Mulally revealed he would make the 525-mile trip from Detroit to Washington in a Ford Escape Hybrid – a trip totaling nine hours. Despite the perception that a private jet is some sort of lavish wasteful mode of transportation for the affluent – it makes more financial sense for the shareholders of Ford (NYSE:F), as CNBC’s Jeff Macke pointed out on the Dec. 2 “Fast Money” broadcast.


     Macke, using AAA data, determined that making the trip in the Ford Escape Hybrid it would cost $30.42 in gas, $9 for two stops for food (McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts), $21.25 in tolls and an astounding $23,424.66 in lost wages for Mulally, who made $22 million last year in salary. That’s slightly higher than the $20,000 it would cost to charter a private jet according to Macke.


     “So your total - $23,485.33 – give or take just for the Kabuki theater of everyone getting into the Escalon (sic) for the worst road trip in the history of man,” Macke said. “No fun is had by anyone. An intern suffers, maybe dies of bladder poisoning and you do this all because Nancy Pelosi thinks you’re green.”


     Ratigan pointed out all three executives of the big three automakers – Ford’s Mulally, General Motors’ Richard Wagoner and Chrysler’s Robert Nardelli could have flown Southwest Airlines from Detroit to Washington for under $1,000. However, Southwest only flies to Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) – some 45 minutes away from the U.S. Capitol.

     However, to make the comparison fair, an Internet search revealed U.S. Airways is offering airfares as low $97 for a one-way direct hour-and-33-minute flight departing from Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) to Washington-Reagan National Airport (DCA). Washington-Reagan is a 4.5-mile, $11-cab ride to the U.S. Capitol, according to the airport’s Web site. That would result in roughly two hours of lost wages – or $5,205.48 versus the $23,424.66 lost by making the nine-hour “green” road trip.