New stick­ers re­quired un­der 2007 en­ergy law

The Kansas City Star (Sunday) - - LOCAL -

hi­cle tech­nolo­gies and ac­count for green­house gas emis­sions af­fect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment.

The changes are re­quired un­der a 2007 en­ergy law.

Un­der the let­ter-grade pro­posal, an av­er­age ve­hi­cle on fuel ef­fi­ciency and emis­sions would re­ceive a B-. Elec­tric ve­hi­cles would re­ceive an A+, plug-in hy­brid elec­tric ve­hi­cles would earn an A and three gas­e­lec­tric hy­brids — the Ford Fu­sion Hy­brid, Honda Civic Hy- brid and Toy­ota Prius — would getanA-.

The best-sell­ing pas­sen­ger car in Amer­ica, the Toy­ota Camry, would re­ceive a B or a B-, depend­ing on the ve­hi­cle’s en­gine. The top-sell­ing pickup truck, the Ford F-150, would re­ceive a C+ or a C, based on the en­ginevari­ant.

Lux­ury mod­els such as the Fer­rar­i599GTBFio­ranaandthe Mercedes-Benz May­bach 57 would­getaD+.

Glo­ria Bergquist, a spokes- woman for the Al­liance of Au­to­mo­bile Man­u­fac­tur­ers, said, “The let­ter grade in­ad­ver­tently sug­gests a value judg­ment, tak­ing us back to school days where grades were pow­er­ful sym­bol­sof­passin­gor­fail­ing.”

She said a broad range of ve­hi­cle tech­nolo­gies were needed to im­prove fuel ef­fi­ciency.

Gina McCarthy, the EPA’s top air pol­lu­tion of­fi­cial, said the let­ter-grade op­tion was not meant to be a judg­ment on the ve­hi­cle but a “met­ric that con- sumer­scanuse”when­car­shop­ping. The let­ter grade would in­clude an es­ti­mate of how much mon­eyamo­torist­would­savein fuel costs over five years.

The sec­ond op­tion would main­tain the cur­rent la­bel’s fo­cus on a ve­hi­cle’s miles per gal­lon rat­ing and an­nual fuel costs but update the de­sign and add new com­par­i­son in­for­ma­tion on fuel ef­fi­ciency and ve­hi­cle tailpipe emis­sions.

A fi­nal plan is ex­pected in early 2011.

En­vi­ron­men­tal groups said they gen­er­ally sup­ported the plan, not­ing it would help shop­pers make mean­ing­ful com­par­isons be­tween ve­hi­cles and choose ve­hi­cles that will help them save money at the gas pump.

“You shouldn’t need a Ph.D. to buy a car. These pro­posed new la­bels will make it much eas­ier for con­sumers to com­par­i­son shop,” said Vickie Pat­ton, En­vi­ron­men­tal De­fense Fund’sgen­er­al­coun­sel.

En­vi­ron­men­tal­ists said the in­for­ma­tion on the stick­ers should re­flect pol­lu­tion from power plants that recharge elec­tric ve­hi­cles. The pro­posal would only fac­tor in green­house gas emis­sions from ve­hi­cle tailpipes.

“Con­sumers shop­ping for a clean car need to be able to com­pare a Prius with an elec­tric ve­hi­cle. Not know­ing how much coal-burn­ing power plantsemit­torechar­geth­e­elec­tric ve­hi­cle ob­scures the choice,” said Dan Becker, di­rec­tor of the Safe Cli­mate Cam­paign for the Cen­ter for Auto Safety.

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