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EPA, DOT Propose New Fuel Economy Labels; Addressing GHG Emissions, Fuel Consumption and Advanced Technology Vehicles

Four samples of the first proposed label design with the letter grade. From left to right: EV, PHEV, gasoline/diesel, gasoline/diesel. Color is integral to the new schemes. Source: EPA. Click to enlarge.

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are jointly proposing changes to the fuel economy labels consumers see on the window of new vehicles in dealer showrooms. The proposed rule seeks public comment on label design options and related issues.

EPA and DOT are proposing two new label designs for comment. One label design prominently features a letter grade (ranging from A+ to D) to communicate the vehicle’s overall fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions performance. The new design will also 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.

A sample of the second proposed label for an extended range electric vehicle. Click to enlarge.

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 options add to the content found on the current label and include the following information for gasoline and diesel vehicles:

  • Fuel Economy: City and highway miles per gallon (mpg) and a slider bar comparing vehicle’s fuel economy to that of all other vehicles
  • Fuel Consumption: Combined city/highway gallons per 100 miles
  • Greenhouse Gases: Tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions in grams per mile and a slider bar comparing the vehicle’s CO2 emissions to those of all other vehicles
  • Other Emissions: A slider bar comparing a vehicle’s smog-related emissions to those of all other vehicles
  • Fuel Cost: Estimated annual costs of fueling the vehicle
  • Comparable Fuel Economy: A comparison of the vehicle’s fuel economy to that of comparable vehicles
  • Smart phone interactive tool: A symbol that smart phones can read for additional consumer information (also known as a QRR code)

The labels for advanced technology vehicle contain additional information tailored to these technologies, including:

  • Driving Range: Identifies how many miles electric vehicles (EVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles can go before recharging or refueling.
  • Different Modes: Some vehicles, such as plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles, have different operating modes: all-electric, blended, and gasoline-only. The labels provide fuel economy information for each distinct operating mode.
  • Energy Consumption Measurement: For EVs, the label shows energy use via both a miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent (mpg-e) and kilowatt-hours per 100 miles metric; PHEV labels show only the mpg-e metric. Mpg-e converts kilowatt-hours of electricity to gallons of gasoline based on energy equivalency.

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.

DOT and EPA encourage public feedback on all aspects of the proposal, including which designs or design features would best help consumers compare fuel economy, fuel costs, and environmental impacts of different vehicles and across different vehicle technologies.

The agencies are proposing that the label only present information on vehicle tailpipe emissions. Upstream emissions, which are associated with electricity generation or refining fuel, would not be displayed on the label. EPA and DOT propose to develop a website to provide consumers additional information on non-tailpipe emissions, while taking comment on other approaches to provide consumer information about lifecycle emissions across various vehicle fuels and technologies. The agencies are aiming to complete the rule in time to allow the new label to appear on the windows of as many 2012 model year vehicles as possible.

DOT and EPA are providing a 60-day public comment period that begins with the proposal’s publication in the Federal Register.

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 (EV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), and conventional gasoline-powered vehicles.

DOT and EPA are looking to provide enhanced information on efficiency and environmental performance—including information about air pollutants, such as smog, that impact public health—to consumers. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 specifically calls on EPA and DOT to rate available vehicles according to fuel economy, greenhouse gas emissions and smog forming pollutants.




More meally mouth BS from an organization that fears an objective measure that is on the verge of starting a massive rise,due to HCCI, Hybridization, PHEVs, and EVs.

That way they can assign a C or D grade to 50 mpg and only a B grade to 100+ mpg. They can continue to hector Americans as wasteful and destructive of the "environment".

Even though America has the cleanest Air, Water and land waste disposal techniques in the world, emits no net CO2, and leads in introducing fuel economy methods.

They can assign a portion of the grade to nonsensical CO2 emissions, or some other presumeably malicious effect. Furthermore the bureaucrats won't have to do any real work, or to defend any grade they arbitrarily assign.

I suggest cutting their budget by 60%, and see how quickly they return to hard numbers, to justify not getting RIFFed.


Here is an organisation who has learned to lower communication complexity to a very low level to reach the majority of us.

Numbers would not have been understood by the vast majority who doesn't know the difference between mpg or L/Km, let alone Kwh per given distance etc. We are not there yet.

Our level is about:

A = very good and many of us know that. (Deserves to be Green)

B = gooooood or what we tried to reach. (A lighter shade of Green ?)

C = fair or lowest pass mark. (pick your color but not Green, could be orange or Yellow)

D = is like F = Fail (nooooot Green could be Red.)

We are really getting what we (the majority) deserve.


Even though America... emits no net CO2

Once upon a time that *may* have been true but it's not now. Our friend Stan made the same claim some time ago and I answered thusly:

The source of Stan's rant may be the study reported on here; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/10/981020074617.htm The problems with his conclusions start with his apparent belief that we can count on this continuing. For example: Such carbon sinks are strongly effected by rainfall, too little or too much can prevent plants from reaching their full potential in taking up CO2, as can so many other things. And if you keep reading this article you will see - The researchers also caution that the size and location of the sink is variable. Other studies of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere show that global sinks vary by almost a factor of five from year to year and may also vary in location. The results in this paper may not be representative of periods outside 1988 to 1992, they added. The future of the North American carbon sink is highly uncertain. By 2003 the carbon sink was [if I'm reading this next report right] down to 30% of North American fossil-fuel emissions; http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/sap/sap2-2/final-report/sap2-2-final-chapter3.pdf Another problem is that report suggested some of the increase in the carbon sink was actually due to the warming, and what the warming giveth the warming can taketh away; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090216092937.htm



Look when I look at a car what I want to know is how it stacks up to other like cars NOT the entire car fleet.

If im shopping for a minivan I dont give a flaming buttmonkey about anything but minivans in its price range.

So simply tell me how it does vs the other minvans in its price range. mpg grams co2/mile average cost opver 5 years blah blah blsh... but narrow its focus down to like cars.


So simply tell me how it does vs the other minvans in its price range.

I think that's what the fine print in the stickers is for.


ai_vin, ExDemo is Stan.


@ Wintermane,

I think people who drive minivans should be nudged towards other categories. I once bought a station wagon that seated 7 for a family of 5 thinkig it would be good for trips, but the reality was I got poor mileage 95% of the time for an imagined need the other 5% of the time. So then, when I was looking at minivan vs station wagon vs sedan for a family of 5, I got the 4-cylinder Camry because it had better fuel economy, safey, and handling than the minivan or the station wagon.



I was trying to be funny.


Heh harvey my post wasnt directed at you it was directed at the label. Its not just minvians people. If I have decided on a type of car I want an at a glance view of which car in that group I would be able to buy telling me how good it is compared to others in that group.

Thus no pickups when im looking for a minivan and no hatchbacks when in looking at a pickup and no 40 grand cars when im looking at an 18k car.


"flaming buttmonkey" ROFLMAO

Hey Wintermane, mind if I steal that one? I haven't laughed like that in a couple of days...thanx.


Heh go ahead;/


I think it would also be extreeley useful to include external CO2 emissions. Eg. how much CO2 is generated by burning coal at the powerplant to generate electricity, and aking into account losses from transmission, charging and so-on.

The system, which seems very similar to the UKs CO2 obsessed, sorry I mean energy efficiency, labelling, will also no doubt be a porecusor to showroom and annual car taxes based on CO2. This happens in the UK, but it's unfair as it's essentially a tax on ownership rather than use.



My wife and I are on our third set of Camrys and very satisfied. Please don't feel badly of your very good choice. Sometime between 2012 and 2015 our Camrys will have to be replaced. Today, one could be replaced with a Prius III, the other replacement could be an improved BEV by 2015? We will see what becomes available.

Will S

This is an excellent rating approach that let's people know right at the 'browse' phase what their contribution would be to "America's addiction to oil".

If that convinces some to move from a C to a B, for example, so much the better.


If there is an "Addiction to Oil" in America, it has been in remission since the dawn of the 21st Century, according to the official reports of the RIEA.


Hi ai_vin,

Your refutation is useless.

If you can't contradict the thoroughness or veracity of a genuine hard science study, conducted in a professional manner by a Team of scientists, over four years, discredit it by SPECULATING on the improbable future.

Definitely don't perform a similar, thorough, scientific study. You would get an answer you don't like.

Instead SPECULATE that although North America, 180 years into the Industrial Revolution is still a NET carbon sink, and it WAS true then, (1998-2002); and IS true now, (2004); why... maybe... it might change...someday.

Do you believe the Mona Loa CO2 atmospheric composition studies or Not? That is a sacred sacrament to the Theory of GHG Catastrophe. They say CO2 is monotonically increasing annually by one or 2 ppm for a century or more, a change of +1/4 to 1/2 of 1% per annum.

Then you can't have it vary by a factor of FIVE for a whole continent, in the space of a year! Most sequestration is a function of natural plant growth and not just man planted agriculture. The countryside doesn't vary that much year to year, anywhere.

Look out your window. What world do you live on?

Since 2000 the USA has added new National Parks under both Mr. Clinton and Mr. Bush, so the sequester area has increased, marginally. The Oil consumption is in decline in North America, ever since 2000. Lots in Oil markets like Electric generation, significantly in heavy industry, some in Residential and Commercial HVAC and by a small, but distinct decline in Transport.

Today no one generates electricity from Oil, like they used to do; Virtually no one makes steel other than using recycled scrap, in electric arc furnaces,anymore. Most new homes are Natural Gas or electric HVAC, today.

In summary: sequestration is increased; consumption, hence emissions are down. North America WAS a NET Carbon sink then; and is likely MORE of a NET Carbon sink now.


I don't know about CO2 car ratings when the coal fired power plant down the road spews tons of it out every minute.

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