New Cars to Get New Fuel Economy Labels

By Paul Riegler on 26 May 2011
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Starting with 2013 model year vehicles, all new cars will come with labels that rate the vehicle from 1 to 10 on fuel economy and smog pollution and provide a five-year estimate of fuel costs compared to an average vehicle in the same class.

The new labels will continue to include miles per gallon and electric-equivalent ratings.  They will favor hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and electric vehicles, which will be the only vehicles getting the top score (all 10s) under the new system.  Diesels should fare well on fuel economy, according to EPA estimates, but may not do so well on the smog rating.

Additional new information on the label will include an estimate of how much fuel or electricity it will take to drive 100 miles and information on the driving range and charging time of an electric vehicle.

The new 10-point scale comes after the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency proposed A-through-D grades for fuel economy and pollution. Many groups including automakers objected, fearing that the car buyers would infer that the grade indicated a vehicle’s overall quality.

Our new fuel economy and environmental labels are a win for automobile consumers and for the nation’s energy independence,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in a prepared statement. “These labels will provide consumers with up front information about a vehicle’s fuel costs and savings so that they can make informed decisions when purchasing a new car.”

In September, the U.S. plans to announce new standards for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions for commercial trucks, vans, and buses starting in the 2014 model year as well as new standards for passenger vehicles for the period from 2017 to 2025.

Automakers can voluntarily adopt the labels earlier than the 2013 deadline.