Guzzlers B Gone: New fuel economy labels for cars

May 30, 2011 By Sandy Bauers

For years we've had great efficiency labels for washing machines, for refrigerators, for dishwashers and more.

Now, have unveiled new efficiency for cars. They'll show not only the the car is expected to get, but how much a year's worth of fuel will cost (based on certain averages) and, if it's an efficient car, how much you might expect to save in fuel costs over five years.

So if you're looking at a car that costs $5,000 more than a less-efficient counterpart, will you save more than $5,000 in fuel?

For the first time, the label also will factor in environmental attributes, giving each car a rating and a smog rating. It will enable shoppers to compare the vehicle they're looking at with the overall pool of cars. On a scale of one to 10 for smog rating, for instance, is yours a three, a seven, a 10?

You probably won't see the labels until the 2013 year models come out. can voluntarily use them ahead of time, but starting with those 2013 models the labels must be affixed to all new passenger cars and trucks, including not only regular old gasoline versions but also hybrids and plug-ins.

Officials say the new labels come just in time to dovetail with the 2010 rule, which will increase the of cars and trucks built for 2012 and beyond. Officials say the new standards will save the average car-buyer $3,000 in .

You can find more information about the new labels here: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/label/index.shtml

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

The and the Department of Transportation had originally floated two fuel economy labels to the public, and while some preferred the other version - one that gave cars a letter grade, such as A or B or C - environmental groups praised the move.

"Information is power - in this case, the power for Americans to choose the cleanest new cars," said Nathan Willcox, Federal Global Warming Program Director for Environment America. "These new labels are an important step toward getting cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars on the road, which will cut air pollution and ease Americans' pain at the pump."

"At the end of the day, we need all of our cars to be clean, and the biggest step the Obama administration can take toward that goal is to move clean cars into the fast lane by making sure that new cars and trucks meet a 60 miles per gallon standard by 2025," Willcox said. "This is the single biggest step we could take toward getting off of oil - protecting our shores from oil drilling, cleaning our air and saving Americans billions at the gas pump."

The National Automobile Dealers Association had fought the letter grades, and its statement focused on that: "For decades, car and truck buyers have relied on miles per gallon Â- or MPG Â- to compare the fuel economy of different vehicles. With gasoline spiking to over $4 a gallon and alternative fuel vehicles hitting dealer showrooms, rolling out a totally unfamiliar 'letter grade' label would have only served to confuse and frustrate consumers. NADA applauds the Obama administration's decision to drop the ill-advised 'letter grade' in favor of one that prominently displays a vehicle's MPG. By doing so, car shoppers can make informed comparisons on dealers' lots, allowing them to take advantage of new technologies, which will ultimately put more fuel efficient vehicles on the road."

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Doug_Huffman
1.8 / 5 (5) May 30, 2011
...new technologies, which will ultimately put more fuel efficient vehicles on the road.
Not likely. My '03 VW TDI (ALH) advertised 50 mpg and I have gotten 56 mpg. I will not buy another at the cost of a blackbox or Obowma's blessing. My next car will be a plush-mobile and fraq the mileage.
PieRSquare
4 / 5 (4) May 31, 2011
I know, the nerve of some people! It's clearly a plot to destroy our freedom by presenting us with relevant data so we can make informed decisions.
unknownorgin
1.8 / 5 (5) May 31, 2011
The federal offcials are careful not to mention the fact that most smog devices decrease feul economy and energy efficiency. What needs to be made public is feul mileage with and without a smog device and the devices that cause more feul consumtion need to be eliminated because they are adding to air pollution.
Vendicar_Decarian
3.3 / 5 (3) May 31, 2011
"I will not buy another at the cost of a blackbox or Obowma's blessing." - HufferDoug

Excellent. You will also reduce the wasteful consumption of vehicles.

As a fellow Environmentalist I salute you.
Vendicar_Decarian
2.5 / 5 (2) May 31, 2011
"The federal offcials are careful not to mention the fact that most smog devices decrease feul economy and energy efficiency." - Shoomie

True. The trade off has been is less smog and more CO2.

Now there will be some added stimulus to reduce the CO2 as well.
PieRSquare
5 / 5 (2) May 31, 2011
It would be nice if they showed the impacts of manufacturing the vehicle too. They can be very high and it can be hard to tell if keeping a less efficient vehicle going longer is greener than replacing it.
Cin5456
not rated yet May 31, 2011
unknownorigin said:
"devices that cause more fuel consumption need to be eliminated because they are adding to air pollution."

This is something an oil/coal industry supporter might say .If devices like catalytic converters are removed from cars then the clean air standards would have to be lowered to allow for higher polluting cars. Coal fired energy plants and oil refining industries want clean air deregulated so the emissions from industrial plants will be deregulated too. There are some heavy duty emission standards that were supposed to go into effect May 16, 2011, and each state must provide plans for implementing those new standards. The new rules stop allowing industries to use a 1997 standard of particulate matter emissions at 10 micrometers, and forcing them to adhere to the new 2.5 micrometer particulate matter emission standards. The ruling was made to reflect the fact that new technology has made it possible to adhere to the new standards.
Cin5456
5 / 5 (2) May 31, 2011
But industries don't want the new standards to be implemented because it will force modifications to existing plants. That cuts into profits. How horrifying that oil companies might actually have to spend some money on making their industries less polluting! They might only make 20 billion in profits instead of 30 billion.
CSharpner
not rated yet May 31, 2011
This may be answered in the video which I'm not able to view on my low speed mobile connection at the moment, but are they including electric bill costs for electric cars? And are they counting the pollution produced in order to produce the electricity used to charge the electrics? I'm not being pessimistic, I'm being realistic. These are real costs and real pollution factors that have to be considered. And, of course, as has already been mentioned, the pollution created to manufacture the vehicle?

Also, the article author seems to imply that better efficiency always means lower cost, which isn't always the case with some of the more expensive electrics and hybrids, which is why I like the new labels, but I want the "you save" number to include the cost of the vehicle so people really know whether they're saving money.