Something new is heading to auto showrooms — all auto showrooms — for the 2013 model year. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revealed today yet another attempt at revising the traditional fuel economy window sticker, aiming to provide consumers with more information on a vehicle’s consumption, costs, and emissions.
These new stickers have their roots in both the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (which required energy usage labels for all consumer products), and 2010 agreement between the EPA and the Department of Transportation (which pushed to provide additional information to the consumer). For the most part, these new labels bear a close resemblance to the conceptual drafts shown by the EPA last summer.
These new labels now indicate the type of fuel used (or, in the case of EVs, not used), the miles-per-gallon or mpg-equivalent (MPGe) ratings, levels of fuel consumption for each fuel source, fuel costs, emissions ratings, and comparisons to other vehicles in the same segment. For tech-savvy buyers, the new stickers also include ascannable QR code that will link to more information about the vehicle.
One feature missing from the new label — letter grades — inspired plenty of debate on early drafts. Ranging from A+ to a D, the grades would have rated vehicles based upon their efficiency. In theory, an A-letter grade would require at least a 59-mpg average rating, while vehicles earning roughly 14 mpg would earn a solid D. Had this made its way into reality, the average grade issued would have been a B-.
The new sticker leads a wave of fuel-economy related announcements from the Obama administration. In July, the first-ever fuel economy standards for commercial trucks and buses will be revealed, and both the EPA and DOT will release their next-generation fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles this fall. Expect to see the new window stickers affixed to cars as soon as the end of this year, as automakers can voluntarily adopt them as early as the 2012 model year.