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The EPA's 2008 sticker design (click to enlarge).  (Source: EPA/DOT)

One of the new sticker designs.  (Source: EPA/DOT)

The other proposed new sticker design.  (Source: EPA/DOT)
Sticker is one of two proposed designs, each with new information to help consumers choose their next vehicle

Spiking oil prices in the 1970s inspired the U.S. Congress to pass the Energy Tax Act of 1978, a phased in tax that hits people who buy inefficient vehicles.  Around the same time Congress also mandated that the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation put fuel efficiency labels on all new cars sold at dealerships in the U.S.  Those stickers became a familiar, relatively unchanging sight over the next 30 years.

Starting in 2008, the stickers underwent their first big overhaul.  Today, with new types of automobiles like plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles preparing to hit the market, the DOT and EPA are looking to roll out yet another shakeup to the dealership sticker design. 

The government organizations aired two alternative designs for labels today.  The first design more closely resembles the 2008 label and its contents.  It adds several additional statistics, as well -- offering metrics on CO2 emissions (in g/mile from the tailpipe), "other emissions" (on a 1 to 10 scale, 10 being the best possible), how many gallons are used every 100 miles, how the vehicle compares fuel economy-wise with other vehicles in its class, and how the vehicle compares to all other vehicles (including those outside its class) in fuel economy.

The second design is a more radical redesign offering a letter grade to the vehicle in terms of fuel economy.  According to the EPA/DOT proposal page shows a battery electric vehicles getting an "A+", a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle receiving an "A", a compressed natural gas vehicle getting an "A-", and a "flexible fuel" (ethanol-ready) vehicle receiving a "B".  The page insists, though:

Please note that these labels are examples and do not represent real automobiles. 

Thus, it is unclear whether these labels are indicative to what kind of letter grades the actual vehicles in these classes would succeed.  Interestingly, there's no room for failure under the new system.  The worst rating one can get is a "D".

The design bumps the average yearly cost of fuel to a text subnote and instead emphasizes the amount the vehicle "saves" per year, "compared to the average vehicle".  It also bumps the note on how the vehicle stacks up within its class to a text subnote.

Both labels feature special QR Codes that allow smartphones to pull up additional info on fuel efficiency and the model.  Both labels also include special "effective MPG" ratings, to encompass electric vehicle performance.  Electric vehicles have their costs tallied as an "Annual Electric Cost".

The first sticker also includes, for the first time, a short disclaimer on how the fuel costs are calculated (a gas price of $2.80 USD is assumed in the sticker shown).  The letter-grade sticker doesn't include the disclaimer, though both stickers remind customers to go to www.fueleconomy.gov to learn more on the topic.

The EPA is seeking public comment on both designs, in order to decide which to adopt.  You can leave your thoughts, comments, criticism, and suggestions here.



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RE: Since We're Adopting School Methods
By omnicronx on 8/30/2010 4:29:21 PM , Rating: 1
Why on earth do you care if someone wants to buy a fuel efficient vehicle?

Now of course if you can't realize the obvious such as these semi electric cars that are not going to take your extra power use (most likely from your household) into account, then sure I would tend to agree with your statements.(but once again why do you care?)

That being said, I see no problem with a simple point of reference based on letter grades.


RE: Since We're Adopting School Methods
By Reclaimer77 on 8/30/2010 4:46:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why on earth do you care if someone wants to buy a fuel efficient vehicle?


Why does the Government?

quote:
That being said, I see no problem with a simple point of reference based on letter grades.


Of course not. You obviously enjoy being treated like an idiot by condescending elites in Washington.


RE: Since We're Adopting School Methods
By sprockkets on 8/31/2010 10:06:43 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Of course not. You obviously enjoy being treated like an idiot by condescending elites in Washington.


fyi, a republican named Richard Nixon put the epa into existence.


RE: Since We're Adopting School Methods
By Reclaimer77 on 8/31/2010 5:32:48 PM , Rating: 2
FYI I don't recall NIxon's EPA telling people what cars they should be buying.

Back then there was an actual need for an EPA. Today? It's another bloated bureaucracy spending our money in an effort to justify it's own existence.


By RaggedClaws on 9/8/2010 1:40:20 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Back then there was an actual need for an EPA. Today? It's another bloated bureaucracy spending our money in an effort to justify it's own existence.


If Nixon was running for office today there would be a Tea Party campaign out to dump him for being a closet liberal and traitor to the true conservative cause. One of the most remarkable trends in American politics is how far to the extreme right the Republican party has moved.


RE: Since We're Adopting School Methods
By MrBlastman on 8/30/2010 4:49:57 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
That being said, I see no problem with a simple point of reference based on letter grades.


Well, the problem is, these letter grades are a matter of opinion.

In other words, a matter of the current administration's opinion--and their willingness to push that influence upon all of us. Sure, they back their grades up with some science (electrical cost per year), but, they are not telling the consumer the whole story.

They are only telling the consumer the part of the story they want the consumer to hear.

They are not telling the consumer they will have to replace the batteries every 5 or 6 years. They are also not telling the consumer how much pollution the creating and recycling of these batteries create.

The thing they _really_ neglect to tell the consumer is how much power costs will dramatically go up if everyone starts using these vehicles. Guess what? Our current grid can't handle everyone using all of these vehicles if this were to happen. The only way to compensate for it would be for power companies to dramatically increase our costs in order to begin providing new ways to create this power.

These grades don't come for free. They are blatant pandering of enviromentalist agenda by washington.

So, as you now see, this is why some of us care. :)


RE: Since We're Adopting School Methods
By nolisi on 8/30/2010 5:42:19 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
They are not telling the consumer they will have to replace the batteries every 5 or 6 years.


What kind of BS is this?
A) Most hybrids have a warranty that cover hybrid components for 8 years/100k miles
B) The Prius has seen commercial use as cabs- there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the batteries will last over 10 years without being replaced
C) Some hybrids have modular battery cells, you can replace the dead ones while keeping the good ones, reducing replacement costs.

Stop trying to spread baseless FUD.
http://consumerguideauto.howstuffworks.com/hybrid-...

quote:
That means there have been well over a quarter-million Prius Hybrids sold in the U.S., making it by far the country's most popular hybrid. And Toyota claims that not one has required a battery replacement due to malfunction or "wearing out."


http://www.hybridcars.com/high-road/how-long-do-hy...


By Spuke on 8/30/2010 5:52:43 PM , Rating: 2
It is a nice shade of green though.


RE: Since We're Adopting School Methods
By invidious on 8/30/10, Rating: 0
RE: Since We're Adopting School Methods
By chmilz on 8/30/2010 6:25:44 PM , Rating: 2
They're ready just fine. Only the US subsidizes them. Hybrids sell great in Canada (and most other countries) with no subsidies.

Don't blame hybrids for your inept government's decisions.


By Spuke on 8/30/2010 6:37:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Hybrids sell great in Canada (and most other countries) with no subsidies.
The market in Canada is not the US market. I agree, it's still an inept government.


RE: Since We're Adopting School Methods
By Lerianis on 8/31/2010 12:53:52 AM , Rating: 2
With all due respect, hybrids and electric-only's are as ready as they are ever going to be.

Sure, they need to get the mileage up for electrics, but for the AVERAGE PERSON who goes no farther than 20 miles to/from their home? They are fine for that person.

I should also bring up that there are numerous OTHER things that an electric only will not need, such as: oil changes, major engine repairs, etc. because there are electric motors ON EACH WHEEL in most of them.

So, think about that? You have to have a car's engine totally REBUILT about every 10 years at a cost of 5K or more... I think the electric car will be CHEAPER for maintenance when it comes down to it.

Not to MENTION that the batteries prices will come down in the future as the battery tech gets better.


By MrBlastman on 8/31/2010 9:49:28 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
So, think about that? You have to have a car's engine totally REBUILT about every 10 years at a cost of 5K or more... I think the electric car will be CHEAPER for maintenance when it comes down to it.


What a bunch of hogwash. If you don't maintain your car, then yes, you will have to have it rebuilt, and more than likely sooner. BUT... If you _change_ the oil every 3000 miles (5000 w/synthetic), change the tranny fluid every so often (and don't flush the crap into the filter, clogging it), your engine and tranny will last far longer than that.

Much longer, actually. Heck, they might even last you the life of the car (which could be 15-20+ years). They might even get you over 250-350k miles.

For what? A few bucks for a new oil filter every so often, some money for oil and an hour of your time.

quote:
Not to MENTION that the batteries prices will come down in the future as the battery tech gets better.


While this might hold true for a while, the resource they are banking on--Lithium, is not an extremely abundant element and most of the remaining reserves are in two countries we don't have control over, one is run by a dictatorship that hates us (Bolivia) and the other has a Muslim regime trying to take control of it (Afghanistan). I guarantee you, through economics, the price of lithium very well may go through the roof.


By chick0n on 8/30/2010 7:20:20 PM , Rating: 1
I think you forgot about Canada's poor hybrid sales. Hell Honda has to pull the Civic hybrid out of the market cuz they only sold like 700 something this year.

You can say mostly due to the "colder than usual" weather there, but that also means Hybrid/battery is not ready/the solution.

I agreed with the other's point about "Government just telling you what they want people to know. nothing else." simply because people these days are too spoiled and dumb. they don't even know most cars don't need Premium grade gasoline. they just put in the "highest" they can see at the pump, the reason? they don't know. they just "heard" that its "better". this is how sad this world has become.


RE: Since We're Adopting School Methods
By cruisin3style on 8/30/2010 10:22:31 PM , Rating: 1
Please cite the source for this being the administration's agenda, and not just some trying-to-be-helpful EPA employee's brainchild.

Or is this just your opinion?


RE: Since We're Adopting School Methods
By MrBlastman on 8/30/2010 10:41:23 PM , Rating: 2
Source: C-SPAN, Newspapers, Magazines, Television, Online News Websites...

Want me to go on? You have to be pretty naive to not realize the reality of all this by now.


RE: Since We're Adopting School Methods
By Nfarce on 8/30/2010 11:10:11 PM , Rating: 2
Anyone who even questions the validity of the current administration and ties to the current EPA and "green" initiatives is, well, a toady.

To help our little toady friend out, I submit the New York Slimes, that vast, right wing conspiracy rag's words back in May on this very topic:

" The Obama administration proposed on Monday two alternatives to the window stickers in new vehicles, including one that would assign letter grades for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions. This sticker would give letter grades for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions. The letter grades — from A+ to D — were immediately denounced by some industry groups, which said the government should not be making value judgments for consumers about vehicles."

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/31/business/31auto....


By Nfarce on 8/30/2010 11:15:18 PM , Rating: 2
Oops, my bad, I posted the same article for August. Well here's the predecessor to this latest brilliance in government...and again from the New York Slimes:

" The plan announced by Mr. Obama in May 2010 orders further improvements in fuel efficiency for cars and light trucks made in 2017 and beyond, and in medium and heavy trucks made in 2014 through 2018. In addition to the fuel efficiency and pollution standards, Mr. Obama's directive will order more federal support for the development of new-generation cars like advanced electric vehicles and will instruct the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce pollutants from motor vehicles other than greenhouse gases."

http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopic...


By cruisin3style on 8/31/2010 1:11:48 AM , Rating: 2
You knew the administration submitted the letters as one approach.

I didn't.

You called me a toady.

Wow.


RE: Since We're Adopting School Methods
By cruisin3style on 8/31/2010 1:05:35 AM , Rating: 2
There is a difference between naivete and not knowing of a specific occurrence i.e. Obama administration pushing letter grades on fuel economy stickers, which I agree is ridiculous hence the asking for sources.

No one said I didn't know Obama is pushing green and all that, I just asked about the letters specifically. Just because I don't know the names of the specific guns used in the civil war doesn't mean I didn't know the war was fought.

But I appreciate your implication that I was naive and hadn't caught on to the trend, kind of a condescending tone you take on there...mirroring the government you are criticizing, it would seem.


RE: Since We're Adopting School Methods
By Nfarce on 8/31/2010 12:53:36 PM , Rating: 2
Just as a memory refresher, your original comment:

quote:
Please cite the source for this being the administration's agenda, and not just some trying-to-be-helpful EPA employee's brainchild. Or is this just your opinion?


It took me all of twelve seconds to research (and back up) the other poster's comments. Maybe you were just too afraid he was right and you didn't want the truth revealed - vs. his opinion as you attempted to protrude.

And your correlation (attempted one anyway) at Civil War guns and a battle being fought = " F ".


By cruisin3style on 8/31/2010 2:31:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And your correlation (attempted one anyway) at Civil War guns and a battle being fought = " F ".


That's funny because just as a battle is fought with guns even if i don't know which specific ones, an environmental agenda is pushed with laws and initiatives even if i don't know which specific ones come from Obama admin. for that agenda, and which are just random proposed ideas from some employee at the EPA (just as I am sure there were guns that existed in the 1860s that weren't used in the civil war).

As for being afraid, I think you are right. That is why I asked for sources...


RE: Since We're Adopting School Methods
By Gungel on 8/31/2010 8:21:44 AM , Rating: 1
What exactly is so wrong to get off our oil addiction? We have to start tapping other resources to power our cars and trucks. The best investment for our future is into our own energy production and the worst is to send billions upon billions into countries that hate us.
Instead of wasting your time to bitch about our government use it to find new ways to create energy.


RE: Since We're Adopting School Methods
By Nfarce on 8/31/2010 12:57:03 PM , Rating: 2
What is wrong with us trying to drill for our OWN resources? And don't give me that Gulf spill nonsense. Had new shallow water drilling rigs been approved, it would never have been a problem - irreletave that Cuba and Russia both are in the works to drill "sideways" into US rock below the sea in the Gulf and arctic respectively.


By cruisin3style on 8/31/2010 2:37:10 PM , Rating: 2
Who said anything about drilling vs not drilling in terms of what you are responding to? Why are you picking battles that don't exist?

As far as I know, and maybe things have changed recently, there aren't many people in Congress or the administration that don't want to drill. I'm fairly certain I've heard speeches on C-Span from members in both parties, and the president, stating that the gulf spill is a catastrophe but we need to keep in mind that drilling for oil is important to the future of our country.


RE: Since We're Adopting School Methods
By Lerianis on 8/31/2010 12:49:55 AM , Rating: 1
5 to 6 years? Guess again. The batteries in some of these things are rated to go 20 years before they need changed.

I agree with you on that our current power grid cannot handle these things being used by all of us, but there is a simple fix for that: IMPROVE THE FARKING POWER GRID!

That should have been started YEARS ago anyway, they knew these things were coming down the pike.


RE: Since We're Adopting School Methods
By MrBlastman on 8/31/2010 9:42:53 AM , Rating: 2
We wanted to improve the power grid years ago, but the same nutcases that want these battery powered cars now are also the same loons that blocked the nuclear power industry from proliferating.


By sprockkets on 8/31/2010 10:33:42 AM , Rating: 2
Just remember that nuclear requires massive water cooling, and one us town has it and the people fighting for water.

1LOT No such thing as a free lunch


RE: Since We're Adopting School Methods
By Gungel on 8/31/2010 8:00:28 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
"They are blatant pandering of enviromentalist agenda by washington."

Wrong, reason number one is to reduce our oil imports from foreign countries. This year alone we had to import 2.15 billion barrels of oil which amounts to US$150 billion (at $70p/Barrel). Our trade deficit for the same period was about $300 billion.
There are a lot of other good reasons to reduce our oil dependency.


RE: Since We're Adopting School Methods
By bug77 on 8/31/2010 8:19:27 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
There are a lot of other good reasons to reduce our oil dependency.


Maybe so, but are they good enough to replace that dependency with dependency on China's rare earths? At least most of that oil comes from Canada and Mexico.


RE: Since We're Adopting School Methods
By Gungel on 8/31/2010 8:32:37 AM , Rating: 2
Quote:
"At least most of that oil comes from Canada and Mexico. "

Wrong. most oil imports are from countries that belong to OPEC. Here is the data if you're interest:
http://www.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/PET_MOVE_IMPCUS_A2...


RE: Since We're Adopting School Methods
By bug77 on 8/31/2010 10:31:50 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, you showed me.

June 2010
OPEC: 164,768
Non-OPEC: 212,929

Canada: 81,978
Mexico: 36,231
Saudi Arabia: 40,576


By Gungel on 8/31/2010 11:26:08 AM , Rating: 2
Total Oil imports for June 2010 was 377,697,000 barrels.
Just to clarify, Canada and Mexico made up less than one third.


RE: Since We're Adopting School Methods
By namechamps on 8/31/2010 4:11:07 PM , Rating: 2
Fail

Are you failed by your own source.

quote:
most oil imports are from countries that belong to OPEC


Let me fix that for you.

A minority of oil imports are from countries that belong to OPEC (per your own source).

The two largest sources of oil are from Mexico & Canada. OPEC nations provide a minority of the oil we use.


By Gungel on 8/31/2010 4:20:39 PM , Rating: 2
OPEC a minority? hardly:
OPEC 165 million barrels for June of 2010
Mexico and Canada 118 million barrels


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