WASHINGTON -- The National Automobile Dealers Association said today it would likely oppose a federal proposal to label new vehicles starting with a letter grade from A+ to D based on their fuel economy and emissions.
NADA joins many automakers in criticizing the Obama administration's letter-rating proposal, which was unveiled Monday and has been endorsed by many environmental groups.
“NADA opposes changes that would confuse the buying public, make vehicle purchasing decisions more difficult or treat certain automakers or fuel types unfairly,” NADA spokesman Bailey Wood said in an e-mail.
To help consumers make informed purchasing decisions about fuel economy and emissions, the administration is considering two options for window stickers starting with 2012 models.
One approach would feature a letter grade. The label also would estimate the vehicle's fuel-cost savings over five years compared with similar vehicles.
The second proposal would keep the current label's focus on fuel economy and annual fuel-cost projections. A sliding bar underneath would compare the vehicle's fuel economy and tailpipe emissions with those of similar vehicles.
NADA “will concentrate on” the second option, Wood said.
Current labels must show how many miles per gallon a car gets and its estimated annual fuel cost.
The administration is seeking public comment over the next 60 days before it adopts a final rule.
Dave McCurdy, CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents Toyota, GM, Ford and eight other automakers, said Monday the rating system “falls short because it is imbued with schoolyard memories of passing and failing.”
NADA also is pitted against environmental groups on whether to use the stickers on electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to display information about the pollution caused by generating electricity.
The dealer group said today it prefers the new fuel economy and emissions information be placed on the Internet, as both the EPA and the Department of Transportation have proposed. Some environmental groups want it on the vehicle labels.