CFA Joins Consumer, Energy Efficiency, Science, Safety and Environmental Organizations in Calling on the FTC to Require MPG Ratings in Car Advertisements

FTC to Study Consumer Response to MPG Ratings in Advertisements

Washington, D.C. (July 11, 2014) – Comments filed by a diverse collection of consumer, energy efficiency, science, safety, and environmental organizations yesterday called for several changes to the Federal Trade Commission’s Fuel Economy Advertising Guide.  The groups called for EPA MPG ratings to be included in passenger vehicle advertising, the banning of anything but EPA ratings in ads, and outlined the most effective ways to present MPG ratings.

“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 comments were developed by a diverse group of consumer, safety, science, energy efficiency and environmental groups including: 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.

A copy of the comments can be found here

Contact: Jack Gillis, 202-737-0766

The Consumer Federation of America is a nonprofit association of more than 250 consumer groups that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education.