September 1 begins the era of the more informative dealer sticker, and every dealer in the nation has to participate. The new sticker on every new car and truck will show the NHTSA crash test rating, and real-world gas mileage. Giving customers on-site crash test scores will help drive technological developments at the automakers, while giving buyers the information needed to pick a safety-conscious vehicle. The modified mileage number will be lower than the previous number by 12-percent in city driving, and 8-percent on the highway. Hybrids will take an even bigger hit, with economy numbers dropping by a huge 20-percent.

More safety regulations are coming, too. Beginning todday, all automakers must have side-curtain airbags in half their vehicles weighing under 8,500 lbs. By 2009, all vehicles must have side-curtain protection. Congress must love the auto industry, they seem to have their finger prints on all kinds of ways to make cars cost more (albeit with additional safety that helps all of us), but our legislators haven't been able to come up with any ways to help automakers stay competitive so the needed updates can keep coming.

[Source: Detroit News]

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