Monday, August 30, 2010

EPA Goes Back To School With New Fuel Economy Ratings

The EPA in conjunction with the Department of Transportation today showed two variations of upcoming fuel economy stickers. The stickers will be changing to accomodate electric and plug in vehicles. One of the options shown includes a school grading style system for the vehicle's overall "greeness", from A+ to D. You can't Fail according to the government. The other proposed labeling system looks a lot more like the current window stickers. The updated labels also show the fuel economy/energy consumption of electric vehicles and plugins in gallon equivalents. For example one of the EPA labels shows an electric vehicle getting 98 mpg equivalent. This means that this vehicle will travel 98 miles on the same amount of energy contained in one gallon of gas. The labels also split up plugin vehicles like the upcoming Chevy Volt into their elecric modes and gas. One label shows a proposed plug in vehicle achieving 65 mpg equivalent on electricity and getting 38 mpg on gasoline once the battery is drained and the gas engine kicks in.

While a letter grading system is perhaps unnecessary and makes for silly looking window sticker, the EPA did the right thing by utilizing the miles per gallon equivalents for the electric and plugin vehicles. This eliminates the unrealistic ratings for plugin hybrids promised by some eariler. This system also allows the consumer to compare the overall efficiency of an electric vehicle or a plugin hybrid to vehicles with conventional internal combustion engines.

You can let your voice be heard and tell the EPA which label it should use here.

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