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:
note that these labels are examples and do not represent real
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
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.
quote: 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".
quote: Appears that the rating is based on metrics, not some arbitrary vehicle class. It would be patently ridiculous to give a 40mpg Ford Focus a worse rating than a 18mpg Hybrid Tahoe.