Is Grading Cars an Example of Government Intrusion?

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department are out with a new proposal to give cars a letter grade (A-D) based on fuel efficiency and emissions. Is this another attempt by the government to legislate value judgments?

This is needed transparency. “The design incorporates a lot more information yet stays relatively clean, and the inclusion of a Quality Rating code is thoughtful,” says CrunchGear blogger Devin Coldeway. This is definitely an upgrade to the old labeling system that does not help consumers make accurate decisions.

The Feds have no business rating cars. The Wall Street Journal reports, “The proposed letter grade falls short because it is imbued with school-yard memories of passing and failing,” said Dave McCurdy, president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the industry’s largest trade group. A spokeswoman for the alliance added that “grades may inadvertently suggest a government label of approval.”

Our Take: This is the Information Age. More transparency helps consumers make smarter decisions based on facts rather than marketing and spin. And if someone doesn’t care about fuel economy or emissions, they are free to ignore the data point. Have no fear: car makers and dealers will still have plenty of shiny marketing material to flaunt all the other qualities you may desire in a car.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below …