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Should cars get grades on fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions? Would a grade make you think differently about buying a new car?

Easy Answer: The EPA has proposed new labels for cars that include a letter grade for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions. The grading scale runs from A+ to D. (I guess they don't want to give any car a FAIL.)

The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation introduced two new label possibilities for new cars. The first (to the right) gives every car a grade. The second label they've proposed looks a little more like the MPG sticker car buyers are familiar with.

According to the EPA, the changes would be "the most significant overhaul of the federal government's fuel economy label since its inception over 30 years ago." Why now? The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 asks the government to rate cars and trucks according to fuel economy and greenhouse gases.

The Associated Press reports that grades for cars would go something like this: "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 gas-electric hybrids -- the Ford Fusion Hybrid, Honda Civic Hybrid and Toyota Prius -- would get an A-. The best-selling passenger car in America, the Toyota Camry, would receive a B or a B-, depending on the vehicle's engine. Hybrid versions of the Camry would earn a B+. The top-selling pickup truck, the Ford F-150, would receive a C+ or a C, based on the engine variant. Luxury models such as the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorana and the Mercedes-Benz Maybach 57 would get a D+ and the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti would receive the lowest grade of D under the plan."

Some environmental groups are pleased with the new label suggestions. Vickie Patton, general counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund said in a press release, "It can be difficult to sift through all the technical and scientific information about clean cars and fuel economy, and 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. With clearer labeling, consumers can make smart choices that protect our economy, our security and our environment."

What do you think about the new labels? Would they change they way you think about buying a new car?

About the author

Adriene Hill is the senior multimedia reporter for LearningCurve.

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