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EPA, DOT ask for public comment on new proposed fuel economy labels

From Green Right Now Reports As a new generation of hybrid and electric cars and light trucks start appearing on the market, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S....

From Green Right Now Reports

As a new generation of hybrid and electric cars and light trucks start appearing on the market, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are jointly proposing changes to the fuel economy labels consumers see on the window of every new vehicle in dealer showrooms. But before a change is made, the agencies are asking the public to comment on the label design options and related issues.

“New technologies such as battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are entering the American market in greater numbers,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. “We need to provide consumers with labels that include fuel economy and environmental information so that buyers can make better informed decisions when purchasing new vehicles.”

Officials said the goal of the new fuel economy labels is to provide consumers with simple, straightforward energy and environmental comparisons across all types of vehicles, including electric vehicles ,  plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and conventional gasoline-powered vehicles. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007  requires EPA and DOT to rate available vehicles according to fuel economy, greenhouse gas emissions and smog forming pollutants.

EPA and DOT are proposing two new label designs. One prominently features a letter grade to communicate the vehicle’s overall fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions performance. It also would 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.

For EVs and PHEVs, the agencies are proposing to show energy use by translating electricity consumption into miles per gallon equivalent. The proposed label designs for EVs also include energy use expressed in terms of kilowatt-hours per 100 miles.

More Information

  • DOT and EPA are providing a 60-day public comment period that begins with the proposal’s publication in the Federal Register
  • The public can view the proposed rule and labels at http://www.epa.gov/fueleconomy/
  • Submit comments as part of the rulemaking process via email to: newlabels@epa.gov
  • Review the proposed rule at http://www.nhtsa.gov/fuel-economy


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