Washington, D.C. – The U.S. government has unveiled new fuel economy labels that provide more comprehensive information, including estimated annual fuel costs, savings, and information on the vehicle’s environmental impact. The labels are the most dramatic overhaul to the label program since it began more than 30 years ago.

The new labels were unveiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Starting with model-year 2013, the improved labels will be required on all new passenger cars and trucks, both conventional gasoline models and “next generation” cars such as plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles.

The labels are the result of a 2010 fuel economy rule, developed with input from major automakers, environmental groups and individual states, intended to dramatically increase the energy efficiency of cars and trucks built in model years 2012 through 2016. Over the life of the program, the new ruling is expected to save 1.8 billion barrels of oil and the average consumer US$3,000 in fuel costs.

In July, the government plans to finalize the first-ever national fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards for commercial trucks, vans and buses built in 2014 to 2018. It is also developing the next generation of joint fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards for passenger vehicles 2017 through 2025, and is expected to announce the proposal in September 2011.

The new labels are mandated for 2013 models but automakers may voluntarily adopt them for 2012 vehicles. For the first time, the labels will provide:

– New ways to compare energy use and cost between conventional and electric cars.

– Useful estimates on how much consumers will spend or save 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 pollution that contributes to climate change.

– An estimate of how much fuel or electricity it takes to drive 100 miles (160 km).

– Information on the driving range and charging time of an electric vehicle.

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