Last Wednesday the EPA, in conjunction with the Department of Transportation released the details of stickers that must be affixed to all new cars beginning in the 2013 model year. We told you earlier that the initial plan, to give all cars a “letter grades” had been shelved.
We now learn from EPA chief, Lisa Jackson, that,
[w]hile the letter grades were designed to indicate a car’s fuel economy compared to others, some consumers perceived the rankings as describing the overall quality of a vehicle…
The new label now requires a field entitled “Fuel Economy & Greenhouse Gas Rating”, and a field entitled “Smog Rating”. You can find the new labels here. Both of these fields provide a scale of one to ten, with only electric cars eligible for a ten.
In a classic nod to the “stupidity” of the American public, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood proudly announced that the new labels,
…will let consumers see–both in print and on their smartphones—how their family budgets will benefit from purchasing more fuel-efficient cars…
I don’t know about you, but, doesn’t everyone on the planet already know that the greater the fuel efficiency, the less gas you will need to buy each year?
Personally, when looking at the new labels, the phrase “information overload” comes to mind. Tell me how many miles per gallon the vehicle gets in city driving and highway driving, and I can figure out the rest. Since “smog” and “greenhouse gas” emissions are a function of MPG, do I really need to know the exact amount of “deadly” carbon dioxide being emitted?
And, more to the point, will knowing the exact amount be the determining factor in my decision making process?
However, the web site fueleconomy.gov is interesting. If you click on “Electric Vehicle”, place your mouse over “greenhouse gas rating”, and then hit “learn more”, you will come across a link to a “greenhouse gas calculator” that tells you the “damage” you are doing to the environment every time you plug in your electric car.
There is some helpful information though. You will learn that, in the example presented, it will “only” take some five years of owning an electric car to save enough in fuel costs to offset the original premium you will have to pay to buy the electric car.
Doesn’t the government have better things to do with our money?