The timing of Ford Motor Co.’s announcement that it would back away from plans to put 250,000 hybrid-electric vehicles on the road by 2010 “could’ve been better,” acknowledges the auto maker’s top environmental and safety official. That disclosure, which came within days of an announcement of a tie-up between Ford and VeraSun Energy Corp. to fund a series of E85 pumps in the Midwest, appeared to link the two events together and continues to anger environmentalist groups. In a June 28 ...

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