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Cars To Be Graded On Fuel Mileage, Emissions Standards

August 31, 2010

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation are pushing for legislation that would require new cars to bear labels grading them based on fuel mileage and emissions, according to a Reuters report on Monday.

The goal, according to Timothy Gardner of Reuters, is “to convince consumers to buy vehicles that use less energy,” adding that EPA and Transportation Department officials claim that the two new labels would ideally be included on 2012 model year vehicles and “would give consumers more information about the monetary–and environmental–costs of running their vehicles.”

“New fuel economy labels will keep pace with the new generation of fuel efficient cars and trucks rolling off the line, and provide simple, straightforward updates to inform consumers about their choices in a rapidly changing market,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson told Gardner.

According to Gardner, one label would measure fuel economy and tailpipe gas emissions, and each vehicle would receive a combined letter grade. He reports, citing EPA assistant administrator Gina McCarthy as a source, that “all-electric vehicles would get the top grade” and that “plug-in hybrid cars, which are charged with an electric power cord and have small engines,” would also receive an ‘A’.

Conversely, high-performance sports and muscle cars would receive considerably lower marks, including a ‘D’ (the lowest available grade under the system, as the system would not include failing grades, according to Reuters) for a Ferrari 612.

The second label on cars in the showroom would include miles per gallon for both city and highway driving, an annual fuel cost for driving the car, and how it compares among all types of vehicles,” said Gardner. “The labels will provide consumers with an estimate of the expected fuel cost savings over five years compared with an average gasoline-powered vehicle of the same model year.”

“New technologies such as battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are entering the American market in greater numbers,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in an August 30 press release. “We need to provide consumers with labels that include fuel economy and environmental information so that buyers can make better informed decisions when purchasing new vehicles.”

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