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Status Update on New US Vehicle Labels

Posted 1 December 2010 by Anastasia O'Rourke to Ecolabel News.

The US EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are revising the fuel economy label that is required on all new cars and light-duty trucks sold in the USA. Two primary label designs are under consideration; and they are taking comments here.

The labels are work looking at, especially because there is an effort to integrate more layered and tailored information to address some of the complexity of trying to measure efficiency and emissions.

The idea is also that having one type of label across many types of vehicles: electric, plug-in hybrid, conventional gasoline and diesel, and other advanced technology vehicles) will help consumers reliably compare between the alternatives. The new label will extend information on fuel economy to include information on Greenhouse Gas Emissions (shown as CO2e per mile for tailpipe emissions); and provide a gauge for other air pollutants.

Like the old label, it will also show in dollar terms what the potential savings will be from this vehicle compared to an average vehicle over 5 years; and the estimated annual fuel cost. These numbers could be misleading on face value however, because it will obviously be relative to whatever is the current average model and driving habit.

One of the more interesting features of the new label is an integrated QR-Code that will allow people to delve deeper into the vehicle’s performance with their smartphones.