New Fuel Economy Labels Proposed, Public Comments Sought

The new labels will show energy consumption ratings, overall fuel economy, greenhouse gas emission ratings and more. Here’s how you can weigh in on their design.
September 3, 2010
The first of the two new fuel economy label designs features a letter grade to communicate the vehicle’s overall fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions performance.


The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Aug. 30 that they are jointly proposing changes to the fuel economy labels displayed on new vehicles.

The goal of the overhaul is to provide consumers with straightforward energy and environmental comparisons across all types of vehicles, including electric vehicles (EV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and conventional gasoline-powered vehicles. The agencies are seeking public comment on proposed label design options and aim to complete the rule in time for the fresh labels to appear on 2012 model year vehicles.

For EVs and PHEVs, the DOT and EPA want to show energy use by translating electricity consumption into miles per gallon equivalent. The proposed labels for EVs also include energy use expressed in terms of kilowatt-hours per 100 miles. The agencies have created two new label designs for comment. One features a letter grade to communicate the vehicle’s overall fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions performance. The new design will also provide consumers with an estimate of the expected fuel cost savings over five years compared with an average gasoline-powered vehicle of the same model year. The second proposal retains the current label’s focus on miles per gallon and annual fuel costs, while updating the overall design and adding the required new comparison information on fuel economy and emissions.

Both updates expand on the content of the current label by including new information on fuel consumption, tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions and smog-related emissions. The agencies will open a 60-day comment period following publication of the proposal in the Federal Register.

Reprinted from EERE Network News , a free newsletter from the U.S. Department of Energy.