• Dec 9th 2010 at 3:32PM
  • 21

EPA/DOT Proposed Fuel Economy Labels – Click above for high-res versions

It seems John Q. Public isn't the only one who thinks the letter grades the Environmental Protection Agency was planning to put on new car window stickers are confusing. Need a refresher? Check out our previous breakdown on the two window sticker options the EPA was proposing.

According to a report from CNBC, 53 members of the House sent a letter to the EPA in opposition to the proposed new labels. The main sticking point is that the House disagrees that only electric cars and plug-in hybrids should get the highest grades of A and A+.

As an alternative, the House is reportedly suggesting that the EPA figure out a way to continue promoting the tried-and-true miles-per-gallon rating system. It should be pointed out, though, that the old method of rating vehicles using an assigned mpg figure has its detractors too... and for good reason.

[Source: CNBC]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's a good idea because it works. In The Netherlands the average CO2 emission of cars has fallen below 130 gram/km. For Diesel cars, this means 50 Miles to the Gallon. It's a combination of labeling and subsidies that got us this result. Of course, our cars are a lot smaller than the average American car, but with oil prices going back to 100 dollars for a barrel, it seems to me that the oil lobby is trying to prevent that you keep more money in your pocket (instead of blowing it up in the air). In Europe, the car companies also opposed stricter rules, with a bit of succes, but labeling, higher oil prices, subsidies and a cost conscious consumer makes our cars user a lot less energy.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I guess... if you are willing to trade our system for socialism. What is the income tax in the Netherlands? What is the tax on buying a car? We'll have nice clean air to breathe from our cardboard box.
        • 4 Years Ago
        just to be clear because as I've never been to the NL, in "labeling"... do you guys also use a letter grade to grade your vehicles fuel economy and greenhouse gasses? Which is fine, if it works, it works.
        • 4 Years Ago
        the energy letter system is applied to everything in the netherlands and europe.

        from light bulbs, white goods,water boilers, houses, etc, etc, etc.
        the design is the same.

        designed in 1992 and revised in 2010

        why is the USA is below average IQ?

        even idiots here, understand the system.
        i buy only class A goods.

      • 4 Years Ago
      Apparently the grade system isn't dumbed down enough for 'John Q. Public'. Perhaps they should use a color system instead (the layout as it sits is perfect for it), the closer to green in color....well....you get it.

      Also I think where it says 'How it compares...', should probably be only to other vehicles in its class (i.e. trucks, suvs, compacts, midsize, luxury) and it should have some text with a percentage (i.e. 'This vehicle has better fuel efficiency than 65% of other vehicles in its class' or 'Only 35% achieved better efficiency numbers in this class').
      • 4 Years Ago
      @MarketAndChurch, yes we do (I Actually come from Belgium) all over europe. The European countries themselves can decide how they implement it. If you've got an A Label, you also get a nice reduction in taxes.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well, its good to know that, with all the problems facing this country, our representatives are hard at work tackling the big issues.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Exactly Mark, how can the public not understand a simple grading system? Apparently thats so simple it's confusing. Maybe the 25% national dropout rate here has something to do with this.
      • 4 Years Ago

      What do you mean it is not good? Do you expect Americans to be able to multiply miles they want to travel each year with gallon-per-mile number? Or worse, kWh-per-mile number and then they have to convert 1 gallon = 33 kWh? Sheesh, people! What's wrong with nice, elementary-school-like grading system? Everybody understands that!

      • 4 Years Ago
      This is actually a list of A and B label cars that get the maximum reduction in taxes.

      • 4 Years Ago
      Why don't they just use language that everyone can understand, word processor smiley faces.

      :D 50+ MPG
      :) 35+ MPG
      :| 25+ MPG
      : 20+ MPG
      :( 15+ MPG
        • 4 Years Ago
        cut off the end,

        >:( less than 15 MPG

        Sorry, couldn't resist
      • 4 Years Ago
      The inclusion of gpm is nice, but it really should be the main measurement. Up here in Canada with gas prices averaging 1$/Liter, using the L/100Km measurement makes it trivial to calculate cost savings between cars.
      • 4 Years Ago
      nobody can understand all the complexities of the polution matrix, not the EPA or the House - because nobody has devised a system that takes all things into account including manufacturing, delivery, underpaid workers, suppliers, etc, etc.
      That said, we have to start somewhere to simplify and give people the information they want, this was a good start until some lobbyists pooped on it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Why couldn't that starting point have been GPM? They can and should still include stats on mpg, smog, and emissions (as the new stickers do) but the letter grade is more of an item on environmentalist wishlists then it is something that consumers, car dealers, and automakers have asked for

        and... if by lobbiests you mean car dealer associations and automakers, then I have to side with the lobbiests for this round. Always quick to pull out some boogymen to abuse...
      • 4 Years Ago
      How much time and how much money was spent/wasted?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm not even sure why anyone would think letter grades are a good idea for this.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The status quo is inefficient and unacceptable, but the epa's grading system is a move in the wrong direction... though I think it could work if they graded cars based on classification and bracket the higher mpg models separately, or not grade them at all...

        This grading system is more in the business of changing consumer behavior.

        I'm sure the EPA can tweak this(Get rid of the grading system) and keep everything else on the sticker, or they could adopt something similar to the gpm grading system.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The point of using A-F letters (like in electric goods) is to make consumers pick the best tagged products, and thus make manufacturers try hard to step up a grade. Suppose that a class-leading car gets 32mpg and yours does 24. Jumping to 27 or 29 or 31 isn't that much of a difference. But if the waterfall is at 30mpg, you wil try hard to cross that line.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I don't an issue with Label Option 2. I can see the letter grading system being more political instead of actually being a useful tool to the consumer.
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