Revamped fuel economy labels will help consumers evaluate the efficiency and environmental impact of cars and trucks produced under new federal regulations, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Consumers will see the new labels in car showrooms early next year when the 2013 models begin arrive. The new window stickers will include estimates of annual fuel costs and information about the vehicle’s carbon footprint, said the EPA in a press release announcing the labels. The labels will help consumers compare energy use and cost between conventional gasoline-powered cars and new-technology cars that use electricity. They will also estimate how much fuel or electricity it takes to drive 100 miles.
“Not only will consumers be better able to vote with their dollars for more fuel efficient vehicles, but these new ratings will provide a powerful market incentive for car companies to improve the efficiency of their offerings,” said Jake Gillis, director of public affairs for the Consumer Federation of America, which participated in the early development of the labels.
A QR – or quick response code – will give smartphone users access to online information on the fuel economy and environmental profile of various cars. A calculator will allow consumers to enter information about their commutes and driving behavior to get a more precise estimate of fuel savings.
Fuel economy rules adopted in 2010 call for increased energy efficiency for passenger vehicles built in model years 2012 through 2016, saving the average consumer $3,000 in fuel costs and conserving 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the life of the program, the EPA said. Fuel economy leaders for 2011 model year cars include the Toyota Prius hybrid, the Ford Fusion hybrid, Mercury Milan hybrid, Lincoln MKZ Hybrid and the Honda Civic hybrid, the EPA reported.
The agency plans to issue fuel efficiency rules in July for commercial trucks, vans and buses built in 2014 to 2018. The new commercial standards are expected to save hundreds of millions of barrels of oil, as well as promote the development and use of alternative fuels, including natural gas. Also in the regulatory pipeline are the next generation of fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards for passenger vehicles built in model year 2017 to 2025. Look for the announcement in September.