Today's cars not so fuel-efficient under proposed new EPA letter grades

report card - proposed rating system for fuel-efficient cards
report card - proposed rating system for fuel-efficient cards

If a proposed new Environmental Protection Agency grading system of automobile fuel efficiency was in place today, the industry's report card would look pretty dismal: fewer than 1% of 2010 vehicles would get an A.

A Consumer Federation of America analysis says that 0.5% of vehicles received an A, 56.9% received a B and 39.4% received a C. The lowest grade of D went to 3.2% of vehicles. Rating cars in a new way could be a good thing for consumers because it would force automakers to create more fuel-efficient cars, advocates say.

"The good news is that there's no question in my mind that having these grades will create intense competition," Jack Gillis, spokesman for the CFA, told Consumer Ally. "Having that information in the marketplace is going to be a very powerful motivator so the free market will drive the improved performance of vehicles and that's always the best way to improve performance."