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New mpg label for used cars

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
Saturday, September 14, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

Used cars for sale can now feature a label showing the official fuel-economy rating, thanks to a new template created by the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The federal site now features a new tool for dealers and individuals selling used cars. The newly created used-car label allows sellers to create a custom label for their specific car, which includes both an electronic fuel-economy graphic for an online ad as well as a paper label that can be attached to the car's window. Both the electronic and paper versions show the EPA-estimated miles-per-gallon ratings for city, highway and combined, as well as the CO2 emissions for the car when it was new. The label also includes a QR, or quick response, code that can be scanned with a smartphone to automatically link to the specific car's information on the mobile site.

Because fuel economy changes very little for a car over its expected 15-year life span as long as it is properly maintained, the label should provide a good estimate of the used car's average gas mileage. The label explains how and why each individual’s actual fuel economy may vary from the estimate.

Currently, the label is an optional resource for dealers selling used cars, but the Consumer Federation of America says that it is a key way to provide car shoppers with a transparent resource on a car's fuel economy, helping them make wiser purchase decisions and potentially save money on gas. The nonprofit says that the label is important enough that it will push for its use to be mandated if used-car dealers don't start providing the information to consumers on their own.

Would you find the used-car label helpful?

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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