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

It seems that the Average Joe isn't the only one who thinks that the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed letter grades on windows stickers are not only confusing, but too subjective for the government to assign, as well.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Obama administration has scrapped plans to assign letter grades – ranging from A to D – to passenger vehicles based on fuel efficiency. Instead, the updated labels, which will reportedly be unveiled next week, will include more info to help buyers judge a vehicle's projected gasoline costs and CO2 emissions.

Automakers have argued that the letter grade proposal would put the government in the position of making value judgments, which some auto industry lobbyists vehemently oppose. Auto Alliance spokesman, Wade Newton, claims that:
The addition of a large, brightly colored letter grade may confuse the public about what is being graded and it risks alienating the consumer who has a valid need for a vehicle that does not achieve an 'A'" based on greenhouse gas emissions.
However, Dan Becker, director of Safe Climate Campaign, says that:
It is deeply disappointing that the Obama administration abandoned [assigning letter grades]. It's appalling that the car makers, some of whom we bailed out, bludgeoned the administration into submission.
The WSJ quotes a person familiar with the administration's internal deliberations as saying, "Even within agencies, there were differences of opinion." What do you think, would letter grades be too subjective?

[Source: Wall Street Journal]


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  • 18 Comments
      upstategreenie
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think letter grades are vital..americans are braindead and all have add/adhd...they can't actually find the actual mileage themselves....they need a big giant blinking neon sign....to tell them they are ruining environment..... when you hide how atrocious your vehicle is, it is bigger mark up for vehicle makers..they don't care if you can't afford to drive it, just like bailed out banks don't care if you foreclose and have to basically hand your home back over to them; auto cos. banks, big oil RULE america......you are just a peon living in it.
      paulwesterberg
      • 3 Years Ago
      This letter grade system made it too easy for the general public to clearly see that most vehicles for sale today get crappy gas mileage.
      Roy_H
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yeah, I much prefer numbers I can relate to instead of a letter grade. I wanted a good rain tire and found tires have letter grades, however almost every tire has a "B" grade with only the most expensive getting an "A", Not wanting to go up to the top level I had no way of discerning the best of the "B" grade.
        letstakeawalk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Roy_H
        I agree with regarding the overall car rating, but your tire rating comment strikes me as strange. Tires aren't rated as better or worse with letters. There are a number of letters that relate to specific usages. I'll jump past the obvious "P" for passenger cars and "LT" for light truck... likewise "R" for radial because, well, you're never going to buy a bias-ply tire and actually drive on it, are you? The most important is speed rating. Don't buy a tire faster than your car can go - pretty simple. I like to buy a tire that can do at least 100mph (Q rated) but also like higher speed rated tires just because one day I might really need to get somewhere obscenely fast. YMMV. I suspect you're confused by Uniform Tire Quality Grading. Don't be. All it does is assure you that a tire meets specific performance standards - again, no ranking implied there. Indeed, depending on what you want to do with your car, you might look at entirely different designations. Traction is designated AA, A, B, C, and is based on traction (grip) in the wet. Might be good if you drive where it's often rainy, might be useless if you live in the desert. Temperature is likewise designated A, B, and C, and unless you're planning on driving more than 115mph for long periods of time, B (100-115mph) will do you just fine. Of course, a C-graded tire is all you really need for legal speeds here in the US. Oh, and different tires perform differently on different cars, in terms of noise and road feel. (Just bought a set of Goodyear Eagle RS-A's for my GF's New Beetle.)
        letstakeawalk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Roy_H
        "...l I had no way of discerning the best of the "B" grade." To the point (sorry), all the "B" grade tires are going to perform pretty much the same, based on the testing: Between 0.38g and 0.47g on wet asphalt and between 0.26g and 0.35g on wet concrete. (braking g force)
        Roy_H
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Roy_H
        Thanks for the info. I never found any "C" rating and didn't know that there was a "AA" rating. I guess you are right, a 20% spread is not a whole lot, but I didn't know that either. But still if the tires were rated as 0.38g or 0.47g, I would have picked the one closer to 0.47g.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I liked the combination the EPA proposed , they had both Letter and number ... the number for those like myself who like numbers and understand them easily ... and the letter equivalent to the number for the large % of the general public who do not understand it ... the letter grade would have been a great representation of the quantified and tested number to make the efficiency / fuel economy comparison much easier for consumers ... I'm not surprised it was dropped ... but I was really hoping it wouldn't be.
      upstategreenie
      • 3 Years Ago
      for sh*()s and giggles I flipped over to review page and the reviews in $4.00 gas are super duty, hemi, bailed out chrysler piece of sh*( etc....nothing new to see here folks move along....I disagree with Obama; chrysler and GM should have went bankrupt....they are just taking up space....and if fed govt. shouldn't be in job of giving 'opinion' of car, then american taxpayers shouldn't be in business of saving failed business models, whether banks or car cos. I think below commenter does have a point; eventually 'A' letter grade would be meaningless as we don't know what a 'good' mileage would be if car cos. are going to regulate themselves...it is like banks regulating themselves or big oil regulating their own drilling rigs...as we have now in corporate states of america.
      upstategreenie
      • 3 Years Ago
      only in ignorant america would letter grades be 'confusing' home of hanging chads...america is a global laughing stock; current movie stars are now fat lazy irresponsible slobs; in other words, us.... git r dun elect the most radical right denialist scum there is i.e. palin as long as they look good....that is ALL that matters....nothing underneath brains etc.are required in amerika 2011.....in america everybody and everything has a price; last days of capitalism....in its' death throes......yee haw. unlimited $$$$ from big oil after citizens vs. united is going to elect your next president...have fun with ten dollar gas....and no jobs!!!!
        Marcopolo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @upstategreenie
        Just a thought, why don't you think out what your going to say, condense it to just the facts, leaving out most of the abusive rantings and clichés, which everyones heard over and over, then see what you have left. By this means you can achieve two great results, you don't have to make 4 postings, and you show some respect for your readers. Oh, and it might be a good idea to sober up before posting........What d'ya reckon?
      JakeY
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's only "opinion" if the letter grade isn't based on an objective measure (which in this case it is; it's just a mapping from fuel economy numbers to a letter). Then the next concern would be if the letter grade is taken to represent a "grade" for the whole car or just for fuel efficiency. It seems automakers are more concerned about the latter.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      It was a stupid idea anyway. Give me clear numbers and let me make an educated decision.
        Noz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        That's the problem....the people who are sinking this ship aren't the educated ones...no intelligent person in their right mind with any understanding and decency to what's right will go to a freaking car dealer and buy a vehicle they know is grossly polluting....would they? People are idiots...and gullible.
      dmay
      • 3 Years Ago
      I agree with this one. The letter was a good idea and would help people out, but the Auto companies are right. The federal government has no right to assign an opinion on which car is the best.
      EV Now
      • 3 Years Ago
      Today's profts are what matter. Who cares about the planet of tomorrow.
      upstategreenie
      • 3 Years Ago
      let's see: recently SEVERAL polls indicate 75% as in three-quarters of ALL americans would vote to repeal HUGE centuries old subsidies for new industries still being received by big oil. but guess what? YOU don't get a vote. and thus, big oil STILL WINS!!! YOU LOSE!!!! THAT is the main reason to get off oil; I don't need fed govt. to tell me to do everything within my power; you shouldn't either with big oil up your *(& controlling you like a puppet. I live in rural area and have NO choices but to drive or bike so I will bike...if you have high speed rail or get to vote on it, do the right thing; it will be yourself you are saving.
      harlanx6
      • 3 Years Ago
      Dan Becker, get a life! Your lobbyists didn't pony up as much as the auto makers did. Get over it. You are going to lose that one every time. The formula is opinions and voters are overruled by lobbyists and money.
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