Apparently Norway takes the phrase “truth in advertising” to heart. New restrictions imposed by the state-run Consumer Ombudsman have banned the use of the words “green,” clean,” and “environmentally friendly” in car advertisements.
Now that most of the world realizes that global warming is a serious problem, the race is on for car manufacturers to build vehicles that are nicer to the environment – or at least appear to be. The practice of the specious marketing of products as green in order to increase sales has become commonplace enough that there’s even a term for it: “greenwashing.”
According to Bente Oeverli, a senior Consumer Ombudsman official, “cars cannot do anything good for the environment except less damage than others.” The vague environmental terms are therefore inherently misleading when applied to a vehicle.
Norway’s standards also apply to more specific claims made by the auto industry. If a company advertises that its car does less harm to the environment than other vehicles, Oeverli will expect that manufacturer to provide specific documentation on “every aspect from production, to emissions, to energy use, to recycling.”
Although the U.S. has similar truth-in-advertising standards governed by the FTC, ten minutes spent watching commercial television will quickly reveal that they’re simply not enforced. Advertising’s all about creating insecurities and feelings of inadequacy that only product X can possibly solve.
At Carectomy, one of our favorite mottos is the greenest car is the one you don’t drive. Besides, alternative transportation makes you look thin, be popular, have cool friends, smell good, live longer, find meaning, and have a gleaming white smile. In this case, most of those things are actually true!
See also: Smartest Cars are Pretty Stupid