The New Car Labels


Fox News has a report on the new fuel economy labels mandated for automobile dealers by the Department of Transportation.  They become mandatory next year, although dealers can start using them voluntarily now.












I can’t imagine why auto dealers wouldn’t want to jump on these babies immediately.  They’re absolutely gorgeous, a perfect marriage of artistic intrigue and informative… oh, who am I kidding.  They’re ugly as sin, crammed full of ugly blocks of bureaucratic fine print.  They look like an artist’s attempt to render a migraine headache on paper.  They’re only a few inches wide, but they were clearly designed to cover a lot of butts.

Only three numbers are big enough to soak through the layer of tears over the reader’s bleary eyes: the average miles per gallon of the vehicle, its estimated annual fuel cost, and how much this cost exceeds the price of fueling what the government thinks is an “average new vehicle” for five years.

How often are these stickers going to be updated after they are printed?  Under Obama energy policies, the rising cost of gas would require the annual fuel costs to be re-computed every few days.  Wouldn’t that impose a significant labor cost on a dealership with hundreds of cars on the lot?

These “estimated annual costs” are deceptive propaganda anyway.  They will be based on driving conditions and mileage requirements that vary greatly between consumers.  A person who drives modest distances through mountain terrain will be fooled into thinking he’ll save thousands of dollars by purchasing a wimpy hybrid, when in truth the added cost of the hybrid would take a decade or more to recoup.

Despite having the visual appeal of a Microsoft end-user agreement, these new DOT stickers are missing one very important bit of information.  Can you guess what it is?

If you guessed “the number of people who will die from driving smaller, flimsier cars,” you are absolutely correct.  There is no estimated fatality number printed on these stickers, but the increased fatality rates of lighter vehicles are well-documented.  Shouldn’t the greater odds of being killed in a little Chevy Volt, compared to a tough SUV, be calculated with the same predictive integrity as those estimated annual fuel costs and printed on the sticker – along with the odds your Chevy Volt will spontaneously burst into flames? 

 How about a warning that electric cars pose a significant health risk because they could run out of charge in the midst of inclement weather?  Shouldn’t those “You Will SPEND More In Fuel Costs” figures include the horrendous cost of replacing hybrid and electric car batteries when they fail?

Of course, the government would never permit, much less mandate, the dissemination of information that runs contrary to its agenda.  Before they manufacture frightening statistics, bureaucrats think long and hard about where they want to stampede us.  The Church of Global Warming made sure to include a “Greenhouse Gas Rating” that fills up a big chunk of the new fuel-economy stickers, in an eye-catching position near the center of the image.  They’re very interested in making you think bigger cars kill the planet, but wouldn’t dream of talking about the way fuel-efficient cars can kill you.