EPA and DOT drop letter grades from window stickers

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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