(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) This just in from the Department of Transportation. TN has reported in the past on the quest for a new label, and it looks like the government has finally settled on one. The Department of Energy has posted an interactive image that let's you see the new label, which is different for electric, plug-in hybrid, and gas vehicles.
More analysis later; the press release from the DOT is below.
Keep scrolling to the bottom of the release for bullet points on what the new label offers.
[UPDATED] Below the release we've added a critical response from the Institute for Policy Integrity calling for letter grade labels.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today are unveiling new fuel economy labels that will help consumers take advantage of the increased efficiency standards achieved under the Obama Administration that will save families money at the pump starting this year. The new labels, which are the most dramatic 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. The new labels underscore the benefits of the historic, bipartisan passenger car and truck fuel economy rule adopted under this administration by the EPA and DOT in 2010.
These improvements will give consumers better, more complete information to consider when purchasing new vehicles that are covered by the increased fuel economy standards. 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.
Upon taking office, President Obama directed DOT and EPA to prioritize the development of new fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards, resulting in the historic standards that will be represented by these new labels. This is the latest step in EPA’s and DOT’s joint efforts to improve the fuel economy and environmental performance of vehicles and to provide consumers with useful information to inform their purchasing decisions.
The 2010 fuel economy rule, developed with input from major automakers, environmental groups, and the states, will dramatically increase the energy efficiency of cars and trucks built in model years 2012 through 2016, saving 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the life of the program and the average consumer $3,000 in fuel costs.
In July, the Administration plans to finalize the first-ever national fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards for commercial trucks, vans and buses built in 2014 to 2018. These standards are expected to save hundreds of millions of barrels of oil over the life of the vehicles covered and promote the development and deployment of alternative fuels, including natural gas. 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.
The new labels announced today will help consumers take advantage of the new, more energy efficient fleet, allowing them to save money at the pump. Consumers will see the new labels in showrooms early next year, when 2013 models begin arriving. Automakers may also voluntarily adopt the new labels earlier for model year 2012 vehicles.
“President Obama's work to shape a Clean Cars program is fostering a marketplace of cutting-edge American vehicles that are more fuel efficient than ever before. The EPA and DOT are creating a new generation of fuel economy labels to meet the needs of a new generation of innovative cars,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Today’s car buyers want the best possible information about which cars on the lot offer the greatest fuel economy and the best environmental performance. The new labels provide comprehensive information to American car buyers, helping them make a choice that will save money at the gas pump and prevent pollution in the air we breathe.”
“Our new fuel economy and environmental labels are a win for automobile consumers and for the nation’s energy independence,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “These labels will provide consumers with up front information about a vehicle’s fuel costs and savings so that they can make informed decisions when purchasing a new car.”
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.
• Useful estimates on how much consumers will save or spend on fuel over the next five years compared to the average new vehicle.
• Easy-to-read 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.
The new labels are required by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
Consumers can get more information on the new label at www.fueleconomy.gov
New Fuel Economy and Environment Labels for a New Generation of Vehicles
Why New Label Designs?
The U.S. Department of Transportation joined with EPA today in unveiling new fuel economy and environment labels that, for the first time ever, highlight the increased efficiency standards achieved under the Obama Administration that will save families money at the pump starting this year. The new labels, which are the most dramatic overhaul in the history of the fuel economy label, will provide more comprehensive fuel efficiency information and five-year fuel costs or savings compared to the average vehicle, as well as environmental impact information.
The new labels underscore the benefits of the historic passenger car and light truck fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions rule adopted under this administration in 2010 by the EPA and DOT, working closely with a wide array of stakeholders. The rule, which includes increased efficiency for vehicles in model year 2012 through 2016, will save 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the life of the program, while saving the average consumer $3,000.
The redesigned Fuel Economy and Environment Label will provide the public with new information on vehicles’ fuel economy, energy use, fuel costs, and environmental impacts. For the first time, comparable fuel economy and environmental ratings will be available for all new vehicles, including advanced technology vehicles such as electric cars. 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. Automakers may also voluntarily adopt the new labels earlier for model year 2012 vehicles.
Specific features on the new Fuel Economy and Environment Label include:
New ways to compare energy use and cost between new-technology cars that use electricity and conventional cars that are gasoline-powered. Useful estimates on how much consumers will save or spend on fuel over the next five years compared to the average new vehicle.
Easy-to-read 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®1 that will allow users of smartphones to access online information about how various models compare on fuel economy and other environmental and energy factors.
In addition, a new interactive tool at www.fueleconomy.gov 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. The site www.fueleconomy.gov also enables drivers of all types of vehicles to enter personalized information like local gas prices along with individual driving habits to get best possible cost and energy-use estimates.
EPA and NHTSA conducted extensive research to inform the development of this new label. This includes reviewing input from an expert panel, focus groups, public hearings, and more than 6000 public comments. For more information on how the new label were developed, see www.epa.gov/otaq/carlabel/regulations.htm
Labels for gasoline and diesel vehicles (see figure 1) will include:
Fuel Economy: Miles per gallon (MPG) estimates. The combined City/Highway estimate is the most prominent to allow quick and easy comparison to other vehicles.
Comparable Fuel Economy: Information to compare the vehicle’s fuel economy to other vehicles in the same category (e.g., among all small SUVs) and to find out the highest fuel economy among all vehicles.
Fuel Consumption Rate: The estimated rate of fuel consumption, in gallons per 100 miles, for combined city and highway driving. Unlike MPG, consumption relates directly to the amount of fuel used, and thus to fuel expenditures.
Fuel Economy and Greenhouse Gas Rating: One-to-ten rating comparing the vehicle’s fuel economy and tailpipe carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to those of all other new vehicles, where a rating of 10 is best.
CO2 Emissions Information: Tailpipe CO2 emissions in grams per mile for combined city and highway driving and the emissions of the vehicle with lowest CO2 emissions.
Smog rating: A one-to-ten rating based on exhaust emissions that contribute to air pollution.
Fuel Costs: An estimate of how much more (or less) the vehicle will cost to fuel over five years relative to the average new vehicle, as well as its estimated annual fuel cost.
Web site URL: The web site, www.fueleconomy.gov, provides additional information and tools that allow consumers to compare different vehicles.
Smartphone interactive tool: A symbol (also known as a QR Code®2) that smartphones can read to reach a website that will provide additional and customizable information about the vehicle.
From Michael Livermore of the Institute of Policy Integrity, a nonpartisan environmental policy think tank:
"At a time when the price of gasoline is causing pain at the pump, EPA’s decision to forego clear, letter-grade fuel efficiency labels is a missed opportunity.
"At no additional cost, the simplified labels would convey information in a way that consumers can easily understand, helping them save money over the life of their vehicle. The makers of gas-guzzlers may not like having their products graded for fuel efficiency performance, but consumers benefit from the clearer presentation.
"Theoretical and empirical research shows that disclosing information is not enough—to be useful to the public, data must be displayed in easy-to-digest ways. With today’s decision, EPA passed up a chance to help American consumers make smart choices about fuel efficiency. At the next opportunity, the agency should correct this error, reflect the latest studies on consumer behavior and select the clearer, letter-grade label design."