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Government letter grade for cars?

September 23, 2010

Are You Ready for a New Window Sticker with a Letter Grade?
José Pinomesa, Chairman
Oregon Independent Auto Dealers Association

A window sticker provides a lot of information for consumers who are shopping for a brand new car or truck.  It provides a listing of the standard equipment plus any added options with the final MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) including delivery charges.  It also provides information on EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) fuel economy estimates plus government safety ratings from NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).  Overall it is information that you would want to know before you made a decision to purchase a particular vehicle.

Let’s say you look at a window sticker and notice a grade of A, B, C or D.  Would you begin to loose interest if it was a B, C or D?

You probably would especially if it was a C or D.  The Obama Administration wants to make this a reality.  This letter grade will do more harm than good.  These grades will be based not on options, price or safety but only on fuel efficiency and emissions.

The only cars to get an A grade would be hybrid or electric vehicles.  Most four cylinder engines would be a B grade, six cylinder engines would get a C grade and eight cylinder engines and above would get a D grade.  Can you imagine a high end Cadillac, BMW or Ferrari getting a D grade on a brand new vehicle?  It’s true and very well could turn away business for those manufacturers which may not be fair.  There really is a lot more to a car than its MPG.

Environmental groups think this is a great idea which would make consumers more aware of the environmental impact of cars.  On the other hand the auto industry said that the government would be making value judgments about vehicles.

The current window sticker provides all the information we need as consumers to make an honest and fair decision.  Having letter grades will begin to brand vehicles even more than they are today and it really is not necessary.  America knows that a Toyota Prius gets great mileage and a Hummer slurps it.  We don’t need any kind of letter grades.

This article was written by José Pinomesa who is the owner of José Mesa Auto Wholesale, LLC.  JMAW is a retail auto dealer in Portland serving customers of new and used cars and trucks since 1992.  For more information please visit

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Discuss this article

Bob Clark September 23, 2010

Things have become very convoluted in the Bama world, and this is just one more example of government over kill. Consumer Reports already handles grading of appliances and automobiles. They are doing a very good job, and the additional Bama grade, is something folks would eventually ignore but it would add another wasteful level of government tax sapping bureaucracy.

Geez, hope Bama follows in Carter’s footsteps, and is only a one term presidential odyssey in malaise. What was the electorate thinking when it hired this guy of hot air?

nicetick September 24, 2010

Cars now Receiving Letter Grades…

Over the past several years now, the Federal Government has placed an emphasis on not only the quality of cars produced, but also the efficiency offered when driving one. Throughout all the discussions of what cars should be and how they should be crea…

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