U.S. EPA and DOT Holding Public Hearing in Los Angeles on Proposed New Fuel Economy Labels

October 21, 2010

Lori Sinsley, 415-293-6097, lsinsley@edf.org
Erica Morehouse, 919-971-6419, erica.morehouse@gmail.com

(Los Angeles – October 21, 2010) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) are holding a public hearing in Los Angeles today about their plans to redesign the fuel economy labels for passenger cars and trucks. This will be the first time in 30 years that the label design will be changed.

Passenger cars and trucks are responsible for around 44 percent of all U.S. oil consumption, and for nearly 20 percent of the pollution that causes climate change. The new labels are designed to provide Americans who are shopping for new vehicles with key information on fuel efficiency and air pollution.

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) consultant Erica Morehouse will be testifying in Los Angeles today in support of new labels that will empower consumers who are buying new vehicles. “It’s widely known that we need to kick our addiction to oil and consumers want to play a part helping to protect the environment. These new fuel economy labels will provide information that consumers can use to buy new cars that can save them money and save the planet at the same time.”

EPA and DOT are holding public hearings to get input on the labels before picking a final design. The previous hearing was in Chicago on October 14th. Those who cannot attend the hearing but want to view and comment on the labels can click here.

EPA and DOT conducted a series of focus groups held across the country as part of the redesign process. The groups helped identify consumer use of current labels and generated feedback on consumers’ understanding of, and preference for, metrics on advanced technology vehicle labels. The participants asked that the agencies provide labels that:

  • Create an immediate first impression for consumers
  • Are easy to read and understand quickly
  • Clearly identify vehicle technology (conventional, electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles)
  • Group information to allow people to deal with ‘more information’
  • Are consistent in content and design across technologies
  • Allow for comparison across technologies
  • Make it easy to identify the most fuel efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles

The EPA and DOT then developed two new label designs. They are in the process of gathering public input about the two choices through the public hearings and website comments before picking the final version. The proposed new labels will have expanded information for car buyers, including ratings on fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions. One of the proposals features a letter grade based on fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions performance, and an estimate of cost savings at the gas pump over five years compared with the average gasoline-powered vehicle.

The goal is to make it easier for consumers to compare all types of vehicles, including electric vehicles, and to help buyers make more informed choices when they’re shopping for new passenger cars or trucks.

“EDF strongly supports this effort to provide vital public information that is more useful and easier to understand” said Morehouse. “We are advocating for additional information on the proposed new labels – including a letter-grade label that people are familiar with and help them rate performances on how well a vehicle will help protect our economy, security and environment.”

More information about the public hearings is available on EPA’s website. 

Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading national nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. For more information, visit www.edf.org. Follow us on Twitter at EDF_CA and read our blog at http://blogs.edf.org/californiadream/.