Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rating Cars: F is for Fuelish

Cars labeled A and B

Federal regulators are considering giving new cars letter grades for fuel efficiency starting with the 2012 model year:

"We are asking the American people to tell us what they need to make the best economic and environmental decisions when buying a new car," said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. "New fuel economy labels will keep pace with the new generation of fuel efficient cars and trucks rolling off the line, and provide simple, straightforward updates to inform consumers about their choices in a rapidly changing market. We want to help buyers find vehicles that meet their needs, keep the air clean and save them money at the pump."
Grades would range from A+ for a plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) such as the Nissan Leaf through A or A- for most hybrids down to D for the gas guzzlers such as Ferraris and presumably such bloated excess as Hummers, Excursions and Escalades.

Oddly, no car would get an F, presumably because the mere existence of CAFE standards makes a true fail impossible... No van would rate better than a C+. A vehicle would need to exceed 14 mpg to avoid a D. Most sports cars would probably be mired in the C to D range, although presumably the Tesla Roadster would rate an A+, and the planned Porsche would be at A- or better. Some vehicles might be hard to rate.

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