New fuel economy labels for cars and trucks unveiled by DOT, EPA

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Federal regulators have unveiled new fuel economy labels for passenger vehicles in the program’s most extensive overhaul in 30 years.

Beginning with cars and trucks from model year 2013, fuel costs and comparisons of environmental impact to other vehicles will be displayed on the decals, which were developed by the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency.


The labels must be affixed to all new vehicles, including those that run on gasoline, diesel, electricity or a mix. Authorities ditched a proposal to use letter grades after intense opposition from automakers.

“Reducing our consumption and demand for oil is the best way to reduce upward pressure on fuel prices,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson in a conference call with reporters. “The old cars have become outdated. A new generation of cars requires a new generation of fuel economy labels.”

The new decals will display a plethora of details. The estimated annual fuel cost is there. So are the standard miles-per-gallon figures for city and highway driving.

New features, however, include the amount of fuel or electricity the vehicle will need to go 100 miles, as well as the expected savings or cost of fuel over the next five years compared with the average new vehicle.

Drivers will also be able to see how vehicles stack up against others in smog, tailpipe emissions and fuel economy on a one-to-10 scale. The miles-per-gallon range for same-class vehicles is included, as is the highest fuel economy among all vehicles, including electrics.

Plug-in hybrids and electric vehicle decals will also show driving range and charging times, as well as a figure for miles-per-gallon equivalent, or MPGE.

“It’s been all hands on deck in this administration letting people know that we’re not just sitting around waiting for high gasoline prices to come down,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Gasoline prices are killing family budgets.”

-- Tiffany Hsu

Video: Environmental Protection Agency


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