U.S. Proposes Grading Cars on Emissions


"EPA wants fuel economy labels to compare both mileage and emissions."

Gasoline misers like the Toyota Prius would get an 'A-' while muscle cars, including the Ferrari 612, would get a 'D' under a labeling program proposed by the Obama administration, which wants to convince consumers to buy vehicles that use less energy.

The EPA and the DOT proposed on Monday that fuel economy labels on the windows of new cars in showrooms compare both mileage and emissions of gases blamed for global warming.

They said the new labels, which they hope will start with the 2012 model year, would give consumers more information about the monetary and environmental costs of running cars.

The proposal requiring two labels would be a big change for consumers and the auto industry from the current, single energy-efficiency label required on all new cars and light trucks.

One label would measure fuel economy and, for the first time, tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions. It would then combine those to come up with a letter grade ranging from the 'A+' (the most efficient) to 'D' (least efficient), reflecting the grading system common in American schools. No vehicle would get a failing grade.

Gina McCarthy, an EPA assistant administrator, said all-electric vehicles would get the top grade, while plug-in hybrid cars, which are charged with an electric power cord and have small engines, would get an 'A.' The top-performing traditional hybrid cars, such as the Toyota's Prius and Ford's Fusion hybrid made would get an 'A-.'

McCarthy said the EPA was in talks with carmakers on figuring out a mpg-equivalent fuel-efficiency label for all-electric and mostly electric cars.

The second label on cars in the showroom would include mpg for both city and highway driving, an annual fuel cost for driving the car and how it compares among all types of vehicles.

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