Last week the EPA released the next version of the gas mileage label displayed in the window of every new car. The new label will feature more detailed information on fuel costs, emissions and other factors that drivers often take into account when making car-buying decisions, including:
- Fuel savings or additional fuel cost over five years compared to the average new vehicle.
- Ratings between one and 10 for greenhouse gases and smog.
- A QR Code car buyers can scan with a smartphone to get more information on a vehicle.
- The fuel consumption rate, or the amount of electric power or gas needed to drive 100 miles. It will be especially helpful for comparing gas vehicles and electric or hybrid vehicles.
- Three different labels for gas/diesel cars, all-electric cars and plug-in hybrids.
However, the letter grading system for fuel economy featured in previous versions of the new sticker won't be making it onto the new labels, which will debut in the 2013 model year.
To my eyes, the new labels are a big improvement over the old ones. I'm especially happy with the the five-year fuel cost comparison. Because the average term for a new auto loan is now over five years, most people will have to hold onto their cars at least that long. Knowing how their fuel costs and their overall family budget will be impacted by a vehicle over the period of time is really critical for car buyers.
What do you think? Are the new labels an improvement or a step down from the old ones? Anything you'd like to see that didn't make it onto the label?