New GHG labelling for cars in US

Yesterday the US government announced that new fuel economy labels, incorporating greenhouse gas emissions data, will become mandatory beginning with the 2013 model year for all new vehicles being offered for sale in dealerships. The new labels replace a style presenting only fuel economy data that has been in use for many years. Although climate change impact labelling is being introduced by some retailers and brandowners in Europe, this program is believed to be the first large-scale greenhouse gas emissions labelling for any consumer product category in North America. There is as yet no indication that the Canadian government plans to introduce a similar label.

The new label provides a Greenhouse Gas Rating, from 1 (worst) to 10 (best), based on the vehicle’s tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions only. Although the label does not provide upstream GHG emissions for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles the US Department of Energy provides an online calculator for upstream emissions associated with these vehicles based on the zip code in which you reside. The press release from the US Environmental Protection Agency claims that the new labels provide:

· New ways to compare energy use and cost between new-technology cars that use electricity and conventional cars that are gasoline-powered.
· Useful estimates on how much consumers will save or spend on fuel over the next five years compared to the average new vehicle.
· Easy-to-read ratings of how a model compares to all others for smog emissions and emissions of pollution that contribute to climate change.
· An estimate of how much fuel or electricity it takes to drive 100 miles.
· Information on the driving range and charging time of an electric vehicle.

More information on the new program is available at http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/names/hq_2011-5-25_fueleconomylabel

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