Auto Industry Lobby Fail

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Soon, your car might come with a letter grade for fuel efficiency. The Environmental Protection Agency is considering a plan to add As, Bs, Cs, and even Ds to the window stickers that appear on new cars and trucks. Electric vehicles would get an A+, while plug-in hybrids would earn As. The Toyota Prius, Ford Fusion Hybrid, and Honda Civic Hybrid (all gas-electric cars) would get A-, while other hybrids would fall in the B range. Less fuel-efficient vehicles like pickup trucks and sports cars would get Cs and Ds. As you might imagine, the automobile industry lobby isn’t too thrilled by this idea:

Automakers questioned the proposed letter grades, saying it might affect sales. Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said “the letter grade inadvertently suggests a value judgment, taking us back to school days where grades were powerful symbols of passing or failing.” She said a broad range of vehicle technologies were needed to improve fuel efficiency.

This has to be one of the worst PR statements ever. I almost suspect the AP writer put it in to embarrass the AAM. “Inadvertent” generally means “unintentional.” But I’m pretty sure that the letter grade system intentionally suggests a value judgment. Showing that some vehicles are better for the environment than others is kind of the point of the exercise. If the new system “affects sales” by encouraging people to buy more fuel-efficient cars, well, I’m sure the EPA wouldn’t complain about that, either. And what’s all this about “school days” being the long-forgotten past “where grades were powerful symbols of passing and failing”? Last time I checked, they still are. A Maybach 57 might get an “A” in acceleration, but it only gets a D+ when it comes to the environment. That’s life. Anyway, this statement gets an F. That’s for “FAIL.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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