EPA and DOT Propose Adding Eco-Letter Grades to New Vehicle Stickers

[img_assist|nid=190822|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=270|height=589]August 30 – The U.S. Transportation Department and Environmental Protection Agency said on Monday that they were considering two new labeling options for new vehicles sold at car dealerships. The proposal would highlight a car’s fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions.

The proposed changes stem from a 2007 energy bill that required updating the labeling requirements. Currently, U.S. passenger cars account for about 20% of the country’s greenhouse gases and burn about 44% of the oil consumed nationally.

The two options being considered, one of which will be implemented by next year, would either assign a letter grade for each car, or merely update the design of the current sticker to include additional fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions data.

Not surprisingly, the automakers are questioning the wisdom of the proposed letter grades. A spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, an industry group, said “the letter grade inadvertently suggests a value judgment, taking us back to school days where grades were powerful symbols of passing or failing.”

Under a letter grade system, the Ford F-150, the country’s top selling pickup truck, would receive a C grade. The lowest grade awarded would be a D for the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti.

All electric cars would receive an A+, plug-in hybrid electric cars would receive an A. The Ford Fusion Hybrid, Honda Civic Hybrid and Toyota Prius, all gas-electric hybrids, would each receive an A- grade.

While environmentalists are supportive of the plan to feature fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions on vehicle stickers, some point out that the grades fail to take into account emissions released from the generation of electricity, such as from coal burning power plants. The stickers will only account for emissions from vehicle tailpipes, so electric cars will get a free pass on pollution related to the country’s electricity grid.

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