This week the EPA and DOT took a small but important step toward reducing U.S. dependence on oil. The agencies announced new a fuel-efficiency labeling system for all cars manufactured after this summer. According to an EPA press release , label updates will include:
• Energy comparisons between different kinds of electric, hybrid, and conventional cars • Five-year projections of the vehicle’s fuel usage compared to the average new car • The amount of fuel the vehicle uses to drive 100 miles • The charging time and range of each new electric vehicle • And, in an apparent attempt at tech savvy, QR codes on each label will let smartphone users compare cars and find more information about them online.
The system also doesn’t account for the energy used in charging electric vehicles, one of the major ways that electric cars will impact the environment.
So what effect will these new standards have? Ideally the information-heavy labels will help create a more informed consumer. They also factor in the future popularity of electric cars, a crucial step to eliminating the public's strange continuing fear of them .
Of course, the new labels’ main incentives are economic — you should buy an efficient car to save money, they say, and here's the proof. New research shows that people are driving less because of skyrocketing oil prices and struggling economies, so the new labels come at a crucial belt-tightening time.