We will know by the end of July if the Environmental Protection Agency will require vehicle emissions "grades" on all new vehicles. According to Margo Oge, the director of the EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality, the EPA is “sympathetic to concerns” related to the proposed "A" through "D" grades that the EPA and the Transportation Department may require on all new vehicles.
Oge told The Detroit News after a recent forum in Washington that the EPA seeks to ensure that “plenty of lead time” is given to the auto industry. EPA’s timetable implies that the new labels won't be seen on new vehicles until the 2013 model year, which would start in the fall of 2012.
However, Oge declined to confirm when the new labels would appear on vehicles. These labels, which were first suggested last August as one of two possible revisions, would give 40% of the vehicles on the roads C's and D's.
Automakers are against the grading system and instead, they support a more modest labeling redesign that's also being considered. Oge said that ultimately, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood have the final decision.
Environmentalists have said that they back the grades, as more people will be convinced to buy more fuel-efficient models. They said that these grades can be compared to the ratings for restaurant cleanliness that resulted to improved hygiene for the industry.
Last December, over 50 members of Congress sent a letter to convince the EPA and Department of Transportation to continue to use fuel efficiency labels that emphasize miles-per-gallon numbers on stickers. [via autonews - sub. required]