Done deal: fuel efficiency labels on new vehicles

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Effective Sept. 6, 2011, model year 2013 and later vehicles will come with a mandatory revised fuel economy and environmental window sticker. The label also can be affixed to the remaining portion of 2012 model-year vehicles on an optional basis.

The labeling requirement will apply to new passenger cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles (such as larger sport-utility vehicles and vans) sold in the United States.

As explained in the "Federal Register," Volume 76, Number 129 (Wednesday, July 6, 2011), the joint rule was proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The redesigned label provides expanded information about the following:

* new vehicle fuel economy and fuel consumption,

* greenhouse gas and smog-forming emissions, and

* projected fuel costs and savings.

The label also will include a smartphone interactive code that permits direct access to additional Web resources.

Specific label designs are provided for gasoline, diesel, ethanol flexible fuel, compressed natural gas, electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

NHTSA and EPA believe that these changes "will help consumers to make more informed vehicle purchase decisions, particularly as the future automotive marketplace provides more diverse vehicle technologies from which consumers may choose."

This rulemaking is in response to provisions in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 that imposed several new labeling requirements and new advanced-technology vehicles entering the market. To read about the new rule in its entirety, click here.

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