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.
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 FuelEconomy.gov, 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.
So next time you’re in the market for a used car, I hope you’ll visit FuelEconomy.gov 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.