Informed Decisions Make Car Buying Greener

By Lina Younes

Not long ago, I was in the market for a new car.  As with any major purchase, I decided to do some research. I had three requirements for this new vehicle. I wanted it to meet the highest safety standards. I wanted it to get good mileage and not to break the bank in the process. At the time, I consulted some valuable resources online: www.safercar.gov, www.fueleconomy.gov , and EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide . In sum, I was successful in getting a fuel efficient car for my daughter.

Just this past week, EPA proposed new labels for fuel efficiency which will help consumers make informed decisions when purchasing a new vehicle. The proposed labels will appear on the window stickers on new vehicles on sale at dealerships around the country. These new labels are an improved design over the EPA label which has appeared on new vehicles for the past thirty years. They help consumers to compare the vehicles with similar vehicles in their class. These labels help consumers to compare vehicles not only for fuel efficiency, but for their environmental impact as well. What I found most interesting is that the proposed labels are equipped with a barcode used by many Smartphones which will allow consumers to access a web page with the fuel efficiency info for that vehicle. What’s really cool is that consumers at the dealership can input their personalized estimates based on their own driving habits and fuel costs. They will have better information at the time of purchasing the vehicle and they will be in a better position to compare apples with apples and oranges with oranges, or so they say. A lot of what I was searching originally on the Web, will now be available in these new window stickers.

We are encouraging consumers to visit our website and compare proposed Label 1 and propose Label 2.  We want to hear from YOU! We are accepting comments in English and in Spanish. To submit comments as part of the rulemaking process, please send your emails to newlabels@epa.gov

We really want to hear from you! With your input, we can all help the American consumer to make the best decision regarding the environment and their personal transportation needs.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

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