The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently rolled out new fuel economy labels that will educate consumers on a vehicle’s efficiency standards when shopping for new cars.

The fuel economy labels will be available for all 2013 models, and many automakers are getting a jumpstart with plans to introduce the labels on some 2012 models.

Consumers will be provided with new ways to compare energy use as well as comprehensive and projected five-year, fuel cost savings between new technology cars such as plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles. The labels include easy-to-read comparisons on smog and pollution emissions and overall environmental impact.

The standards also address key concerns many consumers have about the purchase of electric vehicles, including the driving and charge range of electric vehicles. The labels will include estimates on the amount of fuel and electricity needed for 100 miles of driving.

In keeping with available technology, smartphone users will have access to their average commute times and driving behaviors that will inform them of fuel usage and savings estimates.

PHEV label

The labels will give consumers easy-to-read information on fuel efficiency and environmental standards of new vehicle models starting in 2013. Credit: EPA

“Today’s car buyers want the best possible information about which cars on the lot offer the greatest fuel economy and the best environmental performance,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “The new labels provide comprehensive information to American car buyers, helping them make a choice that will save money at the gas pump and prevent pollution in the air we breathe.”

These new labels represent a continuation of the joint efforts of the EPA and DOT to empower consumers to make better informed decisions about a vehicle’s fuel efficiency and environmental impact. Their efforts are the most comprehensive and dramatic overhaul to vehicle labels since the program’s introduction 30 years ago.

“The EPA and DOT are creating a new generation of fuel economy labels to meet the needs of a new generation of innovative cars,” Jackson added.


U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, left, and EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson unveil the new label program. Credit: DOT

The new labels represented a 2010 rule implemented by the EPA that relied on the input from automakers, environmental groups and the states. The labels requirement originated from the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

These new standards for trucks and cars in model years 2012-16 hope to contribute to savings of 1.8 billion barrels of oil and $3,000 in individual savings for fuel costs.

“Our new fuel economy and environmental labels are a win for automobile consumers and for the nation’s energy independence,” noted U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

The EPA will continue to unveil other fuel efficiency standards including national fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards for commercial trucks, vans and buses built in 2014 to 2018 and the next generation of joint fuel economy/greenhouse gas emission standards for model year 2017-2025 passenger vehicles. These proposals will be announced later this year.

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