Government develops fuel economy window labels for used cars

September 20, 2013 12:00 AM

As gas prices and environmental concerns rise over emissions, many U.S. consumers are looking for cars that are more fuel efficient. Still, it has remained difficult for the public to obtain information on the miles they get per gallon of gas. Now, a government-funded program is aimed at better informing buyers by providing car dealers and private sellers with window labels that display a vehicle's gas mileage and carbon dioxide emissions, Reuters reported.

Consumers can already find these details on the windows of new cars, but they will now be privy to this information when they're purchasing a vehicle second-hand as well, as long as it was produced after 1984. The Environmental Protection Agency bases these ratings on when the car was new. However, the EPA maintains that if the vehicle has gone through scheduled maintenance and regular tune ups,  the original rating should still be valid. According to the Consumer Federation of America website, heavy braking, frequent idling, sudden and rapid acceleration and cold weather can all negatively affect fuel economy, among other factors.

A significant progression
This program isn't mandatory for dealers, however, Reuters noted that The CFA said it will be working to make the labels a requirement. According to the news outlet, officials believe that this program could have a drastic impact on the used car market. 

"Used car dealers are being given the chance to jump on one of the most important rating programs available," Jack Gillis, a federation spokesman, stated, as quoted by the source.

Dennis Smith, national Clean Cities director for the Department of Energy, told Automotive News that after surveying people about mileage stickers for new cars, they found there was significant interest in obtaining that information for second-hand cars. This is unsurprising, as he noted that there are three times as many used car sales as there are new ones. He predicts that the labels will be rather popular, especially as government backing "lends an authoritative voice to the discussion."

"We made sure to make these labels available to be downloaded and used in online settings, where people can display their vehicles' information in a more formal way," Smith said, according to Automotive News.

Consumers that are interested in viewing, downloading or printing the labels can visit fuel and search for vehicles made in 1984 onward.

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