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 proposed letter grades on windows stickers are both confusing and too subjective for the government to assign.

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. Says Auto Alliance spokesman Wade Newton:
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.
Dan Becker, director of Safe Climate Campaign, counters:
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?


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  • 15 Comments
      waetherman
      • 3 Years Ago
      Letter grades for car efficiency and restaurant cleanliness don't work; it's a scale everyone is familiar with, but it has vastly different implications in education. MPG is a moving target, and what is a B today might be a D next year. People understand the basic stats, like combined MPG and average annual fuel costs well enough to make their own decisions. We don't need to dumb-down numbers even more than they already are.
      gork
      • 3 Years Ago
      It just didn't seem to me, like we needed to dumb down fuel economy ratings. After all, in 20 years, what was once considered an 'A' will likely be cited as a 'C'.
      Jonathan
      • 3 Years Ago
      I like how it says it saves you $1900 in fuel costs compared to the average vehicle. But it doesnt says "costs you $10,000 more than the average vehicle." So youll pay $4000 to save $2000.
      Ethan Allison
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why not just do them with respect to size or power? That way you'd be about as close as possible to comparing apples to apples (and who knows, maybe diesels will finally get a little more popular...)
        nardvark
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ethan Allison
        I believe the rational is that it would falsely give people the impression that their "B" grade 300hp, 4000lb full-size car does the same environmental damage as another person's "B" grade 150hp, 2700lb compact. I found the whole system silly anyways, there's really no information you need that the old labels didn't have (mpg and non-carbon pollution like NOx). No reason to add a subjective grade when the numbers speak for themselves.
      GoFaster58
      • 3 Years Ago
      Letter grades don't tell you anything. Kudos to the manufacturers for getting this reversed.
      Redbird
      • 3 Years Ago
      I really think the combined rating is bs too. I can do math myself, and it's not going to match their city vs hwy anyways.
        dreadcthulhu01
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Redbird
        What exactly is BS about the combined mpg rating? It is simply the weighted average (55% city / 45% highway) of the city and highway ratings, which is similar to the mix of driving the "average" American does. And it is nice to know how the fuel economy of a vehicle when choosing one to purchase, much like it is nice to know the acceleration, weight, top speed, interior space, and so on.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      mkM3
      • 3 Years Ago
      I hereby give the Dan Becker and the Safe Climate Campaign an "F".
      Soul Shinobi
      • 3 Years Ago
      Thank god they're not going to get deeper into treating people like retards.
        dac17
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Soul Shinobi
        I guess stupid is as stupid does. What a moronic proposal in the first place. I guess the Nanny State thinks they can dumb down everything. For those people that actually read these stickers, leave the government's opinions off.
      Robert Fahey
      • 3 Years Ago
      This all looks very Boston Bruins to me.
      joe shmoe
      • 3 Years Ago
      forget grades. we need gold star stickers, like we had back in kindergarten.
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