New Car Labels Display Fuel Economy, Emissions

Cars at dealerships will display new labels that give people extensive information on fuel economy and emissions.

The labels were unveiled thoday by the US EPA and US Dept of Transportation, and will appear on all model 2013 cars.  

This is the most significant overhaul of auto labels since mileage stickers were first put on cars. The new design includes:

  • A numerical ranking system that combines information on fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions into one clear, accessible, "1-10" designation.
  • A car’s five-year cost savings for the buyer. The average American owns a car for five years; the labels show how much money can be saved over that time by buying a more fuel-efficient car.
  • The labels include a website URL where people can learn about the pollution associated with producing gasoline-powered cars and a tool to determine emissions from power plants in all US zip codes so buyers can examine the electricity-generation emissions associated with powering electric vehicles. 
  • The labels will keep the familiar numbers for miles-per-gallon and average one-year fuel costs.

Originally, EPA and the Dept of Transportation conceived of a A-F grade to appear on the label, but that was changed because of lobbying from the auto industry.  

The auto industry claimed the labels would remind people of passing and failing grades in school, which they claimed were  out of line.

Now the agencies will turn their attention to setting fuel economy standards for the 2017-2025 timeframe.

The environmental community is pushing for strong standards – cars would have to get 60 mpg by 2025, which would save Americans $101 billion per year, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Let’s hope that the Administration holds the line on that ambitious target.

Learn about the new labels:

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