Skip to content

Click and Print– New Labels for Used Vehicles

2013 September 12
Janet McCabe

September 12, 2013
1:37 pm EDT


The test of a good idea is if you hear yourself saying – “Why didn’t I think of that?”  The new fuel economy and emission labels for used cars and trucks just announced by EPA and the Department of Energy pass that test.

When you consider that buying a car is the second biggest purchase most people make and that used cars outsell new cars by a ratio of roughly 3 to 1 – it’s an idea whose time has come. Fuel economy has always been of interest to consumers, but it is becoming increasingly important now that there is such a range of fuel efficient cars available and car buyers are thinking more about their environmental footprint.

If you want to save money by buying a used car, wouldn’t you also want to know what it’s likely going to cost you at the pump?

The fuel economy and emissions label on new car windows is a familiar sight. Two years ago, EPA and the Department of Transportation updated the design of that label to make sure it would continue to provide car-buyers with accurate mileage and emissions information on a whole new generation of more and more advanced vehicles in showrooms. However, this same information has not been readily available for used cars—until today.

A vehicle and engine certification test at EPA’s National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory in Ann Arbor, MI.

A vehicle and engine certification test at EPA’s National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory in Ann Arbor, MI.


Now, with this used vehicle label tool, dealers of both new and used cars – or anyone selling a used car – will be able to provide reliable fuel economy and carbon emissions information to potential buyers. Cars typically last 15 or more years, and if the car has been properly maintained, its fuel efficiency should remain steady.

Whether you are a seller or a buyer, the label is easy to use.  Just go to, and select the year, make, model, and options and print or download the used vehicle label. The label’s design includes the fuel economy and carbon pollution emissions for that vehicle. The electronic image is also easy to upload to an online advertisement.

While the label is not a requirement like MPG labels on new cars, if everyone selling a used car were to use this tool, it would be much easier for buyers to compare the fuel economy and environmental impacts of the vehicles they’re considering. Empowered with this information, Americans can choose an efficient car that’s right for them, helping to save their families money and reduce the emissions that contribute to climate change.

Since its founding, EPA’s National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory has been at the forefront of developing clean automotive technology and designing programs to reduce and prevent air pollution.


So next time you’re in the market for a used car, I hope you’ll visit and download this valuable information about your potential new wheels. Or ask the seller for it. And if you’re a used car dealer, or even just have one used car to sell, you can help your customers out with this great information.

Janet McCabe is the Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, having previously served as OAR’s Principal Deputy to the Assistant Administrator. Prior to joining EPA in November 2009, McCabe was Executive Director of Improving Kids’ Environment, Inc., a children’s environmental health advocacy organization based in Indianapolis, Indiana and was an adjunct faculty member at the Indiana University School of Medicine, Department of Public Health.  Ms. McCabe grew up in Washington, D.C. and graduated from Harvard College in 1980 and Harvard Law School in 1983.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

3 Responses leave one →
  1. Joleen permalink
    September 12, 2013

    I just wanted to say thank you for making this available for used car buyers. It’s nice to know that people actually do care.

  2. Vicente permalink
    September 13, 2013

    It´s a very good idea.

  3. Sydney permalink
    October 28, 2013

    I think that this is a very good idea for both the car sales industry, private individuals selling their personal car, as well as anyone looking to purchase a vehicle. It is a very innovative way for car buyers to compare used cars to new cars and other used cars. I put my vehicle’s information into the calculator and was actually surprised as to how few mpg my car gets and how many emissions it releases. I bought my car used and had I known how bad it was for the environment, it definitely would have played a role in which car I decided upon. People who want to purchase a car that is better for the environment are definitely benefitted by this innovation, as they can make more informed decisions, and the environment will benefit as well. These labels should be mandatory on all used vehicles.

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS