Chevy Volt EPA sticker

A coalition of consumer and environmental groups is asking the Federal Traade Commission to crack down on car ads that use "unofficial" mileage estimates -- meaning any that don't come from the Environmental Protction Agency.

“In our consumer surveys, including the most recent released on June 23rd, consumers clearly want more fuel efficient vehicles. Putting accurate and fair MPG information in advertising will not only help consumers make informed market choices, but add significant competitive market pressure for continued carmaker improvements in fuel efficiency,” said Jack Gillis, CFA’s Director of Public Affairs and author of The Car Book.

The groups’ comment letter made a number of recommendations to the Federal Trade Commission, including:

  • All fuel economy claims must use only the EPA ratings, prohibiting the use of non-EPA fuel economy estimates in advertisements
  • Allow only the use of all three (city, highway, combined) EPA rating numbers or, in special circumstances, only the combined number.
  • Prohibit the use of just the ‘highway’ number in advertisements, as it is rarely achieved by consumers and can be deceptive.
  • Require posting of the fuel economy rating of the model that is expected to be most popular, rather than publishing just the numbers associated with the highest rated version of a particular model. (This prevents a deceptive situation when there are very few of the highest rated models actually available.)
  • Require MPGe conversion rating for electric vehicle advertisements.
  • “Auto advertising is a powerful market force that goes a long way to influence consumer purchase decisions. Including accurate, fair MPG rating information will serve both consumers and those manufacturers who have made significant investments in fuel efficiency improvements”, said Gillis.

The FTC groups making the request include: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Center for Auto Safety, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Natural Resources Defense Council, Public Citizen, Safe Climate Campaign Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists.

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