The Obama Administration’s EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTSHA) are proposing new rules “labeling each passenger car with a government letter grade from A to D based on its fuel efficiency and emissions,” the Wall Street Journal reports. The new rules “would be the most substantial changes in 30 years to the familiar price and mileage labels afixed to new cars on sale at dealership,” the article continues. Only in the make-work world of bureaucrats would the addition of the letters A, B, C, or D to product labels be considered “subtantial changes.”
The WSJ goes on to point out the obvious: “Currently the labels must show how many miles per gallon a car gets and its estimated annual fuel costs. Under the rules proposed Monday, new labels would carry a letter grade assigned by regulators.” Electric vehicles and hybrids would get the highest grades while big, heavy, gas-guzzling SUVs would get the lowest grades. “We think a new label is absolutely needed to help consumers make the right decision for their wallets and the environment,” explained Gina McCarthy, EPA’s assistant administrator for air and radiation.
“Absolutely needed” — as in, we’d be lost without them.
The proposed rules imply two judgments about Americans. One is that we’re too stupid to understand how miles-per-gallon and estimated annual fuel costs affect our wallets. Our math skills are so poor that quantitative information must be supplemented with letter grades labeling “this car good, that car bad.”
The second judgment, closely related to the first, is that Americans are school children and EPA/NHTSA are the Nation’s teachers. The agency folks apparently think that no matter how old we get, we still want to be teacher’s pet.
I propose an alternative rule — a “substantial” change in the titles of both agencies to “School Marms R Us!”
Am I going to comment on the proposed rule? Maybe I’ll just submit a bumper sticker with the words: “Honk if you’ve outgrown school marms.”