The US Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, which governs certain businesses, products, and services that affect us, have officially released the new window stickers to start appearing on vehicles come 2013. On these stickers there are some key conceptual changes to consider, plus some new features.
The new labels are sporting an overhauled design that is complete with additional information regarding potential fuel savings, environmental impact and even a scannable QR code for smartphones. The labels still list city, highway, and combined fuel economy and annual fuel costs, as well as air-quality ratings. But now the labels also include comparative information.
One of the key reasons driving the need for a new label is the arrival of alternative fuel vehicles, such as electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles that have modified the traditional city and highway fuel economy miles per gallon ratings. No longer is fuel economy just about MPG, but also environmental impact and electrical charging costs. The new labels will address and compare all fuel types based on new criteria and variables, rather than simply comparing it to a gallon of fuel.
The 2013 sticker includes a gallons-per-mile metric, whereby the estimated fuel consumption per 100 miles of combined city and highway driving is provided. Individual city, highway and combined MPG metrics are retained on the sticker.
The EPA also designed unique stickers to suit different powertrains. The label for a purely electric vehicle, for example, will reflect the estimated range of the E.V. and the estimated average yearly cost of charging it, as well as a numerical miles-per-gallon equivalent, expressed as MPGe.
The purely electric Tesla Roadster claims the gaudiest sticker among passenger vehicles, reflecting a 245-mile range and a fuel economy and greenhouse rating of 10 out of a possible 10. The stickers do not take into account the so-called well-to-wheel efficiency of the vehicles, which consider the greenhouse emissions of power sources.
Some environmental advocates had hoped the E.P.A. would select another sticker proposal, which would have assigned a letter grade to a car based on its fuel economy and total emissions relative to the entire fleet of new cars. That proposal was opposed by many within the auto industry, including the National Automotive Dealers Association, as being ambiguous.
In addition to these new metrics and layout changes, a QR code on the lower right corner of each sticker enables smartphones with a scanner app to link to a government website for more information. The site will provide customized estimates based on your own parameters, as well as advise on what type of car and what type of fuel might work best for your driving needs.
Here are a few articles we have selected which you can visit to learn more, plus a video that explains them. You can expect to see these new stickers on cars sometime towards the third or fourth quarter of 2012 when 2013 vehicles begin hitting dealership lots.
ConsumerReports.org: New 2013 model-year car window stickers explained
NY Times: New E.P.A. Window Stickers Make Debut
LeftLane News: New Window Stickers Designed to Better Reflect Varying Engine Options