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House lawmakers: No letter grades on new cars

Dozens of House lawmakers are putting a big red "F'' on a government plan to put letter grades on the window stickers of new cars and trucks to rate a vehicle's fuel efficiency.

Fifty-three House members said in a letter Wednesday to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department that a proposal to add letter grades to the stickers was biased in favor of electric cars and would hurt sales of sport utility vehicles and trucks. Consumers use the stickers to compare vehicles when shopping for a new vehicle.

"Changing this system to a letter grade would cause consumer confusion and tip the scales unfairly against many fuel efficient SUVs and trucks, relegating them to a C or C+ grade," said Rep. Dale Kildee, D-Mich. The letter was signed by 17 Democrats and 36 Republicans.

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. Environmentalists have said the changes will make it easier for consumers to compare vehicles and save money at the gas pump.

But the lawmakers said the plan was "biased in favor of certain types of vehicles" and only electric cars and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles could earn an A or A+. They support an alternative that would maintain the current label's focus on the miles per gallon rating.

The stickers have not been updated in three decades and the government wants the labels to reflect new technologies and account for emissions affecting the environment.

Under the letter grade proposal, an average vehicle would receive a B- on fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions.

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Online:

Fuel economy label proposal: www.epa.gov/fueleconomy

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