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EPA, DOT unveil the next generation of fuel economy labels

Sample label for a plug-in gasoline hybrid-electric vehicle, which features fuel economy ratings for both electricity and gasoline. Click to enlarge.

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled the next-generation of fuel economy labels. The new labels, which are the most significant overhaul to fuel economy labels since the program began more than 30 years ago, will provide more comprehensive fuel efficiency information, including estimated annual fuel costs, savings, as well as information on each vehicle’s environmental impact.

Starting with model year 2013, the improved fuel economy labels will be required to be affixed to all new passenger cars and trucks—both conventional gasoline powered and “next generation” cars, such as plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. The new labels will for the first time provide:

  • New ways to compare energy use and cost between new-technology cars that use electricity and conventional cars that are gasoline-powered.

  • Estimates on how much consumers will save or spend on fuel over the next five years compared to the average new vehicle.

  • Ratings of how a model compares to all others for smog emissions and emissions of pollution that contribute to climate change.

  • An estimate of how much fuel or electricity it takes to drive 100 miles.

  • Information on the driving range and charging time of an electric vehicle.

  • A QR Code that will allow users of smartphones to access online information about how various models compare on fuel economy and other environmental and energy factors. This tool will also allow consumers to enter information about their typical commutes and driving behavior in order to get a more precise estimate of fuel costs and savings.

EVs. For electric vehicles which operate solely on electricity, the labels include both kilowatt-hours per 100 miles and miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent (electricity consumption translated into mpg on an energy-equivalence basis). Miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent converts kilowatt-hours of electricity into gallons of gasoline (based on 33.7 kilowatt-hours per gallon), and reflects the more familiar mpg-type approach for a fuel that is very different from gasoline.

The labels also show how far EVs can travel on a fully-charged battery and how long it takes to charge the battery from a dedicated 240 V outlet or a standard 120 V wall outlet, depending on what the charging capability of the vehicle is.

The GHG emissions estimates and ratings shown on the label are tailpipe-only emissions. This means that the carbon dioxide emissions on EV labels will be zero, given that all of the CO2 emissions associated with EV operation occur at the power plant and other upstream sources. a new interactive tool at will allow drivers to enter their zip code and estimate the greenhouse gas emissions from charging and driving a plug-in hybrid or electric car where they live.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs). Depending on how they are designed, PHEVs can operate in two or three of these operating modes: batteries, charged from the electric grid, and electric motors; a combination of both gasoline and plug-in electric operation; and gasoline only, like a conventional hybrid vehicle. Because of these design choices, PHEVs are the most complex technology for a vehicle label.

For PHEVs, the agencies’ goal was to provide as much information as possible about each operating mode (all-electric, blended, and gasoline-only). This allows consumers to tailor the information about each operating mode to their own driving habits. Because there are multiple operating modes, the agencies chose to eliminate some information found on the labels for other technologies to keep the label readable.

For example, the labels show only the combined MPG or MPGe for each mode rather than also including city and highway fuel economy estimates. The agencies also chose to provide a single overall value for other parameters, such as tailpipe CO2 emissions, 5-year fuel savings, annual fuel cost, and the various overall ratings rather than values for each operating mode. To calculate these values, the agencies considered the relative operation on electricity versus on gasoline for the typical driver.

Other Vehicle Technologies. The labels for other technologies, such as FFVs (flexible fuel vehicles), hydrogen FCVs (hydrogen fuel cell vehicles), and CNG (compressed natural gas) vehicles, are based on refinements to gasoline and diesel vehicle labels.

In July, the Obama Administration plans to finalize the first national fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards for commercial trucks, vans and buses built in 2014 to 2018. The Administration is also developing the next generation of joint fuel economy/greenhouse gas emission standards for model year 2017-2025 passenger vehicles and expects to announce the proposal in September 2011.



I like this sample lable. It covers a lot of bases. Inform consumers and they'll buy more efficient cars and eat fewer Cinnabons.

Oded Tour

Very useful!


Anyone else notice the math error in it tho? Annual fuel costs of 900 bucks BUT it somehow saves 8100 in fuel costs in 5 years..... Granted its a sample but still its funny they missed something that simple.


MPGe is a bogus unit and somehow tries to make electricity usage the same as gas usage. It panders to the lowest technical comprehension on a fourth grader level. This is not too surprising since the EPA has many decision makers that are themselves technically not literate.

Petroleum and electrical consumption are fundamentally different, and this is exactly why why PHEVs and EVs are being developed.


If you read the print at the bottom, they are assuming 22 mpg for the average car and 15,000 miles per year. So the average car costs $12,600 for fuel over five years.

This car costs $900 per year times five years for $4500, hence the $8100 savings. They also assume $3.70 per gallon and 12 cents per kWh. The math looks fine if you assume half gasoline and half electricity.

Stan Peterson

These window stickers are very poorly thought out.

They do no provide and historical perspective of how this =vehicle compares with ones offered in 1970 or 1985. They do no provide information for the degree of compliance with the Law ,their CAFE rating.

The stickers take no account of fuel optimization in time or space such as the Volt and other PHEVs employ.

a) The average "typical driver" is enormously benefited from the consumption of an outsized proportion of more inexpensive electric miles by being consumed first.

b) the nation is enormously benefited from a political, economic, and health standpoint with an out sized proportion of electricity being consumed, by being consumed first.

c) The country used to be benefited from a toxic pollution standpoint, but modern ICEs are as clean as EVs. it is also augmented unfortunately by the shortsighted efforts of pseudo-environmentalists who sue on every attempt to build more modern, cleaner, and more fuel efficient electric power stations. Thus keeping the older, less clean and less efficient plants in operation.


I'm looking forward to the day they eliminate the MPGe nonsense. It's like the five servings of fruits and vegetables crap from the FDA, nothing about vitamins and minerals because they also assume fourth grade mentality.


Oh... I couldnt read the bottom part as im too blind to make it out unless I magnify it and too lazy to do that....


Not bad. Fourth grade is the assumed government education level. Of course we object to the unsubstantiated statement in small type:

"Vehicle emissions are a significant cause of climate change..."

There is no causal evidence that CO2 causes climate change. How about replace that with:

"Consumption of foreign oil is a significant cause of economic hardship and loss of security."


I would prefer fuel petrol expression in kWh on sticker and even at gas station rather than electricity in gallons. When buying kWh's of gasoline I would be sure about calorific value and quality of fuel. It means the less quality and calorific value of gasoline should be more gallons delivered. Would be fair way. This is how we by coal at power plants.


If I pour a gallon of gasoline into a generator, I might get 10 kWh, if I put that into an EV, I might get 40 miles out of it, hence 40 mpg.


This is the problem with the MPGe rating, it does not take into account HOW the electricity was generated and at what efficiency.


Like I have said, if you take a therm of natural gas in a peak plant and transmit the power a ways, you get 30% at the outlet. Then you put it through a charger, then round trip through the batteries, through the controller and through the motor for maybe 20% at the wheels.

Now you take the same therm and put it in an internal combustion engine, through the drive train to the wheels at about 20% of the energy you started with. You may have more or less the pollution, but you have several different methods of making electricity and most of them do not include oil.

Stan Peterson

I grow weary of the breathless reports of some foreign auto reported by measurement in NEDC or the even more optimistic Japanese equivalent.

It makes you think that we North Americans still drive fuel guzzling dinosaurs, different from the rest of the World, when such is no longer the case.

Today there is no longer a North American vehicle, save for the full-size "pickup truck". All others have converged on World norms, and obtain the same fuel economy, for the very same vehicle, despite the foreign reports that estimate mileage in the 50-70 mpg range.

In the EPA un-documented, and "un-measurement" scale reports, the fuel economy is at 1/2 of those rosy reporting systems, and as much as 1/3 of the official US reporting scale used by the NHTSA CAFE system. EPA won't tell us what NHTSA measurements are, one set of redundant bureaucrats fighting another set for turf, doing exactly the same thing.

This is a carefully prepared Propaganda sticker from our friends the self-loathing, anti-American, neo-Druidic, Luddites at EPA.

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