Monday, August 30, 2010

EPA looking to improve new vehicle fuel labels

If you're in the market for a new car or truck, chances are you're paying close attention to the manufacturer's fuel economy claim that appears on each vehicle's window label.

The number of miles you can expect (or at least hope) to get under normal driving conditions will be an important factor in your purchase decision. But would even more information help you, as environmentally conscious shopper, to decide? 

The federal Environmental Protection Agency thinks so and is working with the Department of Transportation on new label requirements that would provide consumers with simple energy and environmental comparisons across all types of vehicles, including electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and your conventional gas guzzler.

The agencies announced today that they'd also like consumers to receive information on a vehicle's potential air pollutants, such as smog, that impact public health.

And they are asking you to help them decide which way to proceed by providing your comments on two potential label designs.

According to the agencies,

"One label design prominently features a letter grade to communicate the vehicle’s overall fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions performance. The new design will also provide consumers with an estimate of the expected fuel cost savings over five years compared to an average gasoline-powered vehicle of the same model year.

"The second proposed label retains the current label’s focus on miles per gallon (MPG) and annual fuel costs, while updating the overall design and adding the required new comparison information on fuel economy and emissions.

"Both proposed label designs expand on the content of the current label by including new information on fuel consumption, tailpipe carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and smog-related emissions. The new labels would provide information on a new web-based interactive tool that can also be accessed by smart phone. This tool would allow consumers to personalize the information about a vehicle’s performance."

You can view the proposed rule and labels at: and submit comments as part of the rulemaking process via email to:

Related: New York Times editorial: Cleaner cars, A to D

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