Monday, December 13, 2010

House Lawmakers Oppose New Car Ratings

Dozens of House lawmakers are opposed to the Obama administration's plan to put letter grades on the window stickers of new cars and trucks that rate a vehicle's fuel efficiency.

Although Republican resistance to the White House is common, legislators are resisting the new car rating system despite the fact that these changes will make it easier for consumers to compare vehicular emissions and save money on gas.

The stickers have not been updated in three decades and the government wants the letter ratings to reflect new technologies and account for emissions affecting the environment. The Obama administration said in August it was considering adding grades ranging from A+ for the most fuel-efficient to D for the least fuel-efficient to the stickers. Under the letter grade proposal, an average vehicle would receive a B- on fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions.

On December 8, Fifty-three House members sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department indicating that a proposal to add letter grades to the stickers was biased in favor of electric and hybrid cars and would hurt sales of sport utility vehicles and trucks. The letter was signed by 17 Democrats and 36 Republicans.

These lawmakers object to the fact that the plan favors low emission electric cars and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. They support an alternative that would maintain the current label's focus on the miles per gallon rating so as not to highlight the emissions of combustion engine powered cars.

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