Soon not just your kid, but your car could get a report card

New government labels are coming for cars and they could clearly send some vehicles straight to the head of the class, while others wind up just a grade away from detention.

These new labels, developed by the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Environmental Protection, are designed to make it clearer for consumers where a car stands on the spectrums of fuel economy, carbon emissions and energy use. The idea is to help people compare vehicles across types, which can be tricky under the current system, which displays a car’s EPA-figured gas mileage on the retail sticker sheet plastered to the side window.

One new label under consideration grades the vehicle for energy use and emissions.

One new label under consideration grades the vehicle for energy use and emissions.

Lester Brown: Reclaiming the Streets

strong>By Lester R. Brown

Lester Brown

Lester Brown founded the Earth Policy Institute and Worldwatch Institute

Cars promise mobility, and in a largely rural setting they provide it. But in an urbanizing world, where more than half of us live in cities, there is an inherent conflict between the automobile and the city. After a point, as their numbers multiply, automobiles provide not mobility but immobility, as well as increased air pollution and the health problems that come with it. Urban transport systems based on a combination of rail lines, bus lines, bicycle pathways, and pedestrian walkways offer the best of all possible worlds in providing mobility, low-cost transportation, and a healthy urban environment.