This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

September 12, 2007

EPA Unveils New Fuel Economy Sticker for Model Year 2008

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled on September 5th the new fuel economy sticker for the windows of new cars and light trucks. While most changes to the sticker are cosmetic—adding the combined fuel economy and displaying the estimated annual fuel cost more prominently—the numbers used in the sticker have changed significantly. For vehicles released in model year 2008, the EPA is using new methods to estimate fuel economy, accounting for today's faster highway speeds, people's tendency to accelerate faster, and the effects of using air conditioning or operating the vehicle in cold weather. See the EPA press release and the new fuel economy label.

To keep confusion at a minimum, DOE and the EPA have also revamped the Web site, allowing users to compare the new and old fuel economy estimates for vehicles dating back to the 1985 model year. Rather than retest the older cars, the Web site uses a formula to calculate the difference in fuel economy estimates. A perusal of the site suggests that most vehicles will see about a 10% drop in estimated fuel economy, but the drop is greater for vehicles that achieve high fuel economy during city driving. The 2007 Toyota Prius, for instance, suffers a 20% drop in estimated fuel economy for city driving, yielding a 16% drop in combined fuel economy. Likewise, the 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid experiences a 16% drop in estimated fuel economy, while the estimated fuel economy of the front-wheel-drive version of the 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid drops by 13.5%. You can also perform the calculation yourself, using an online calculator on the site. See the online calculator and the comparison of old and new fuel economy estimates on the Web site.

DOE and the EPA have also published the fuel economy information for vehicles that have been released early in model year 2008. The list is far from complete, so it does not provide a comprehensive look at the new model year, but it does provide useful information for people looking to buy a new car today. See the preliminary information for model year 2008 on the Web site, available as both a searchable database and a printable file (PDF 101 KB). Download Adobe Reader.