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Old 06-10-2008, 10:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Environmental Warnings on car advertisements? For or Against?

View: EU mulls climate warnings for car ads
Source: Computing.co.uk
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EU mulls climate warnings for car ads

The European Commission has this week launched a public consultation on controversial proposals that could require car manufacturers to make information on fuel consumption and carbon emissions a more prominent component of print adverts and other promotional material.

The proposed rules raise the prospect of cigarette packet-style health warnings on car adverts with manufacturers required to give over a certain proportion of all adverts to information on carbon emissions. The Commission is also reported to be considering a "traffic light" rating system whereby low-carbon vehicles carry green marks while the most polluting cars are designated with red marks.

The proposals, which also include rules that would require carbon emission data to be made available in all car showrooms, are subject to consultation but the Commission has signalled its intention to toughen up the rules governing car advertising.

It said studies have shown that the current CO2 labelling directive "is not working as well as it could and needs to be amended". It added that with cars accounting for 12 per cent of overall EU carbon emissions it is committed to ensuring that consumers have enough information to choose lower-emission vehicles.

The proposals have provoked uproar from manufacturers, advertising agencies and publishers who have all argued that the legislation is unnecessary.

A spokeswoman for the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said that the UK car industry already had to adhere to strict regulation regarding the communication of fuel efficiency in adverts and as such further legislation was not required.

She also argued that the car industry was being unfairly targeted, noting that if CO2 warning labels are to be applied to car ads, there would be a case for similar rules being imposed on other carbon-intensive sectors such as airlines and IT. "You have to ask where it is going to end," she said.

However, environmental campaigners dismissed the industry's objections, claiming that manufacturers frequently fail to comply with the spirit of the existing regulations, often hiding CO2 data in the ad's small print and exploiting a loophole that allows CO2 figures to be omitted from "primarily graphical" information.

Friends of the Earth transport campaigner Tony Bosworth welcomed the European Commission proposals, arguing that it was important for consumers to have " clear and accurate carbon emission data to help them make decisions".

In related news, the SMMT this week provided further evidence that concerns over the environment and rising fuel prices are affecting car sales after data showed that new registrations of 4x4s last month fell 18 per cent compared to May 2007. In contrast, sales of mini-sized city cars climbed 12 per cent, while diesel car registrations rose 8.4 per cent.
Public consultation on the revision of the CO2 /cars "labelling" Directive 1999/94/EC   click to show 

I don't belive this kind of thing will assist in imparting knowledge as to better car choices and selections. The showroom is for the rest of the information. If the automaker wants to do so, then they should do so on their own volition, not as a mandate to legislation.

I don't think this is right in the EU nor do I find it right in the United States.

I also don't believe that it's fair advertising. Since I only drive <8000 miles a year, I know that I don't produce as much CO2 as someone who drives 32,000 miles. In fact, if I own 2 cars and I drive only 1 of them then the net contribution of the 2nd car is ZERO, thus the car manufacturers are lying.

I also find this to be punitive to the automakers. If you want them to behave a particular way, then legislate for it. I don't agree in the pedistrian redesign of the fronts of vehicles for pedistrian safety. It's absurd on it's face, as well, the pedestrian isn't or shouldn't be in the road to begin with. Yet they saddled all the major manufacturers with the redisgn, yet somehow I don't see Lamborghini and Ferarri redisigning for pedestrian safety.
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Old 06-10-2008, 11:04 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Have we gotten any data back on warnings on cigarette packs? I reserve my judgment pending the success rate of that attempt.
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Old 06-10-2008, 11:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I doubt it will work. People will buy expensive cars that guzzle gas and pollute for one reason: they have to compensate for something and the car helps get tail/ass.
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Old 06-10-2008, 11:27 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I don't see any reason NOT to pass such a law. If all auto makers must follow it, then it is just a piece of info on the advert. Maybe it'll grab someone's attention. Maybe it won't. Don't see a huge deal either way.
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Old 06-10-2008, 12:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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It's like warnings on cigarettes. It might do a little good.

Now, I'm a smoker. Every day people tell me, "Don't you know that will kill you?". I bet that didn't happen as often before they made it known that cigarettes kill.

People telling me cigarettes will kill me is annoying. (That's a different discussion though.) People more aware of the impact car exhaust has on the environment might do this world some good.
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Old 06-10-2008, 12:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Hain
I doubt it will work. People will buy expensive cars that guzzle gas and pollute for one reason: they have to compensate for something and the car helps get tail/ass.
Hahaha. No kidding. Especially if you're able to buy the Bugatti Veyron pictured. BTW, if you aren't familiar with these obscenely fast ground-mounted spaceships go to youtube and check them out.

Anyway, I am opposed to forcing owners of businesses to make warning claims. This is up to consumer groups and consumers in general. They, however, should be required not to fudge any specifications.

Say no to warnings on coffee. Make people accountable for their own stupidity... unless of course your talking politics, in which case socialism definitely beats letting the idiots that surround us constantly keep our government in a state of shittynesshood. <- Yeah I just coined that word; deal with it.

Originally Posted by xepherys
I don't see any reason NOT to pass such a law.
Ahhhhhhhh. This line of thought is crippling to a system already filled with laws and regulations unnecessary and unneeded. This is the same school of thought that allowed the PATRIOT act to happen. It isn't to negative so we might as well do it. What? In my opinion, a prerequisite for law making should be that it is of the utmost importance and is proven to help how it MIGHT help. I've no room for maybe's in law books.
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Last edited by Herk; 06-10-2008 at 12:37 PM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 06-10-2008, 12:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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i don't see the objection, herk--the argument against your position would be basically a restatement of the article--without the assumption that there would be positive benefits from the warning systems, there would be no move to introduce them--rating cars by gas mileage or levels of CO emissions seems a perfectly reasonable move particularly if you see the connection between such emissions and larger-scale environmental problems as being important enough to require action--no matter how late, no matter how little.
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Old 06-10-2008, 01:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
Well if they do it for one industry they can do it for all. Imagine the flak that would arise if on a milk bag, it states the CO2 emitted to produce milk annually, ...on fruit, tofu, berkenstocks ,...everything

Bring it on.Why pick on one industry. If one whole -heartedly
supports the green movement, they should also be aware of all the pollutants, not just the fashionable ones they can do without.
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Old 06-10-2008, 01:12 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I can see some potential for creative marketing:

"...Our gas guzzling energy wasting environmental pollution monsters ....err I mean our wonderful cars now have carbon offsets built right into the price you pay so you can simply buy and drive with a clear conscience, knowing that XYZ Car Company is paying part of your purchase price toward global offsets, allowing you to continue polluting....errr enjoying your luxurious pleasures..."

...if you get my drift. IMO the current cost of the offsets would not deter most luxury car buyers.
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Old 06-10-2008, 01:14 PM   #10 (permalink)
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i dont get this objection either---the problem is the "green movement" and not the production processes/commodities that generate these side-effects? so this "green movement" is an affliction--perhaps it is better that no consequences are labelled, no side-effects--because that way...well what? there won't be any side-effects or consequences? you as a consumer will feel less burdened with information when you make a commodity choice? the persecution "green movement" (in your imagination perhaps) will be defeated?

i dont see the logic at all.
but maybe i am misinterpreting the syntax.
who knows?
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Old 06-10-2008, 04:07 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I could support such a regulation.

Most car commercials are pretty useless. I'm thinking of the typical one that shows the car being driven in the most idyllic situation: wide-open, winding roads closed to the public, and always shot with exciting angles during nice weather (that is, unless a dramatic effect is desired). This type of ad is shown to reflect a sense of sheer pleasure, which can be had by the viewer if only they go and purchase the product for themselves.

We see the same thing with beer commercials. They're essentially the same. Idyllic situations, sheer pleasure, yours to be had. The thing I notice beer companies doing--whether legislated or not--is they often have the message somewhere that reads something like: "Enjoy responsibly." This implies one thing: This product can be dangerous if used irresponsibly. Dangerous enough to take one's life. Please don't and drive.

Why not something similar for car commercials? I know they have messages such as "closed conditions" or "professional driver," but these have a different effect. They aren't aimed at the viewer as much as it is an excusing or disclaimer for the manufacturer. It's like saying, "This kind of driving was made possible by our own means...just so you know it isn't a realistic demonstration." It's too much of an indirect warning, if a warning at all. If instead they had a message that suggested a certain reality--in this case, fuel efficiency--it would be a responsible thing for the industry to do to inform their potential customers. Something to break through the idyllic fantasy. Yes, the car looks pretty driving down that winding mountain road, but also realize how much fuel it takes to do so. "Enjoy responsibly."
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Old 06-10-2008, 04:19 PM   #12 (permalink)
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The only thing I'd question about such a regulation is it's effectiveness. The segment where such warnings would have the greatest impact is the one that's already (generally) voluntarily promoting these numbers anyway; the economy market is all about fuel efficiency, and it's mostly people looking for economy who are likely to take fuel efficiency into consideration. People who buy trucks typically value cargo capacity, towing capacity and sometimes just sheer size over efficiency. People who buy sports cars value speed over efficiency. People who buy luxury cars... well, you get the idea. The point is that if someone is spending ~$40 000 or more on a car then there's a much smaller chance that they're going to care, and cars below that price point often advertise these numbers anyway.

The image in the OP is especially ironic. That's a Bugatti Veyron pictured, and Bugatti doesn't advertise through traditional means because it's not efficient for them; a print ad is useless when few to none of the people seeing it can afford the product. Therefore Bugatti would be pretty much entirely unaffected by such legislation.

If you can afford a Veyron you can afford the fuel, and if you're actually buying one you probably you clearly don't care.
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Old 06-11-2008, 06:16 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I'm pretty sure that the relationship between carbon footprint and fuel efficiency is linear: carbon in the fuel + oxygen = carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide gases (and water and other stuff, but that's beside the point here). So, printing the "tons of carbon" information won't tell the consumer any more information than "miles per gallon" will tell them.
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Old 06-11-2008, 06:37 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I'm in favor. I don't necessarily care how it's worded. But anything to make people think about the environmental effects of their car choices might serve-- even just a little-- to motivate auto manufacturers to build cars with better fuel efficiency, lower emissions, and ultimately, alternative fuel systems.

I don't care if it works a lot, or it works a little. It won't hurt, and it might help.
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Old 06-11-2008, 06:40 AM   #15 (permalink)
nothing to say

Last edited by pocon1; 07-06-2008 at 11:21 AM..
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Old 06-11-2008, 07:39 AM   #16 (permalink)
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as far as i´m concerned this is just another band-aid on the problem. nothing will work until there is a complete re-think of the trasportation problem
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