I was just in the Capitol South metro station (that’s the station right near the House of Representatives in DC) to deliver constituent letters to a few representatives. And what I saw was pretty darned disturbing. Almost every single billboard was an advertisement by the Auto Alliance, that today’s automakers offer more than 100 models that have EPA estimated highway ratings of 30 miles per gallon or more. Yup, first they claim that all of today’s autos are “virtually emission-free,” next that hollow hybrids are a “quantum leap” in fuel economy, now this.
I love the fact that they’re touting the 30-mpg figure while the EPA reports fuel economy numbers as the average between the city and highway numbers. By purposefully leaving out the lower city fuel economy numbers, the Alliance is, again, using distorted information to try and persuade the public, and lawmakers, that they’re already making cars as fuel-efficient as we need. But the truth is that the overall fleet fuel economy peaked in 1987 and has since slipped by 1.5 mpg (my source on this is Heavenrich and Hellman's '04 report). Indeed it is the lack of fuel-efficient vehicle choices that is driving hybrid demand today. I sincerely hope the FTC acts on the over 20,000 complaints it received for that virtually emission-free ad. The Auto Alliance needs some sort of wakeup call that it should deal honestly with the public if it’s to be a credible player in determining the outcome of major public health, oil security, and consumer choice issues.
Posted By: JBB