"We think a new label is absolutely needed to help consumers make the right decision for their wallets and the environment," says Gina McCarthy,
the EPA's assistant administrator for air and radiation. Environmental groups supported the proposal while auto groups criticized it.
"The proposed letter grade falls short because it is imbued with school-yard memories of passing and failing," says Dave McCurdy, president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. A spokeswoman adds that "grades may inadvertently suggest a government label of approval." One dealer suggests that a better approach would be to compare vehicles in the same size class for their environmental impact and fuel economy.