New EPA Gas Economy Stickers Fuel Debate

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Sorry, gas guzzler. You fail — or at least, earn a D.

One of two new EPA-proposed fuel economy stickers, slated to be rolled out next year and slapped on 2012 showroom cars, doesn’t dip into the F-range. But it gives letter grades to autos ogled by prospective buyers, which if you ask us, is a step in the right eco-friendly direction for an industry that burns nearly 9 million barrels of gasoline every day.

Each of the new designs (the top two, shown at right) are more honest (and colorful) about a car’s environmental impact than the previous sticker (bottom). The EPA is seeking feedback on which of the two it should adopt in the first major fuel economy sticker update in more than 30 years. Voice your opinion here.

“We’re asking the American people to tell us what they need to make the best economic and environmental decisions when buying a new car,” EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said in a press release.

The new labels provide traditional information like city vs. highway fuel economy and estimated annual fuel cost, but improve upon the old design with additional info like greenhouse gas emissions and comparative fuel economy within a vehicle’s class.

The new labels also display a barcode-like “QR Code,” which can be scanned by smartphone to determine whether a car fits within a potential buyer’s personal driving style. Stuck in bumper-to-bumper in a car by yourself on a two-hour morning commute? That Escalade might not be the ride for you.

Of the two labels, we’ve got a favorite. We’re superficial consumers, swayed by brand names, wooed by sexy catchphrases and always gravitating towards whatever glistens under the lights. Our purchasing patterns generally don’t follow logic.

That said, we support labeling that encourages responsible decision-making in a loud, maybe sensational way. It’s about time a government organization stamped its approval (or damning rejection) on fossil fuel consuming emissions machines.

Disagree? We’ll give you a gold star for at least having an opinion.

Story by Sam Brand, originally published on Tonic

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