WASHINGTON (CN) – Starting in 2013, all new cars and trucks sold in the United States will feature a fuel economy and environmental window sticker breaking down the costs and impact of operating the vehicle, according to new federal regulations.
The new design, adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, may be used voluntarily as early as 2012.
The new stickers will include a smartphone interactive code allowing consumers to access detailed information about the vehicle from the Internet, plus new vehicle fuel economy and fuel consumption, greenhouse gas and smog-forming emissions in grams per mile, and five year projected fuel costs and savings.
With the rise in alternatively powered vehicles, the stickers will be specific to each particular fuel or power source including gasoline, diesel, ethanol flexible fuel, compressed natural gas, electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
The labels will include the estimated annual fuel cost, and city, highway and combined miles per gallon. Fuel economy relative to other vehicles that do not run on liquid fuels will be rated with miles per gallon equivalents.
Stickers for fully electric vehicles will show how long it takes the battery to reach a full charge and how far the vehicle will go on a full charge under different driving conditions. Stickers for hybrid electric vehicles will show fuel economy when operating under full electric power, when using both electric and fossil fuel power, and when using fossil fuels alone.
The agencies say that test marketing of several new sticker designs resulted in a clear message from consumers: “Keep it simple.” The tests indicated that consumers were likely to look at the stickers for only a brief amount of time and that they needed to be able to compare several key features at a glance with the option to read more detailed analysis later.
The new labels will rate a vehicle’s greenhouse gas emissions and fuel efficiency on a scale of 1 to 10 as compared to other vehicles. The agencies rejected using letter grades A+ to F for this measurement fearing that consumers would associate the grade with the overall quality of the vehicle.
While the new window labels are mandatory for 2013 vehicle models, manufacturers will be allowed to use them starting in 2012.