The EPA’s miles-per-gallon estimates are a joke. That’s common knowledge. However they are trying to change the game in a good way by improving and simplifying the readability of their window stickers. Soon you may find your potential new ride with an easy-to-read letter grade system that rates the car’s environmental efficiency.
In addition to the letter grade system we’re all familiar with, the stickers will likely have a miles per gallon number still, and a typical cost to fill the tank number. The latter will be helpful psychologically as people consider a new vehicle. “28 mpg highway” is one number we see often. But when that translates to “$85 cost to fill the tank” hits the wallet a little harder. This way, we might actually consider the real cost of filling up such a wasteful vehicle.
The new stickers will come on line in 2012. They are a result of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act which required the EPA to begin rating cars on fuel economy, greenhouse gases and smog-forming pollutants. It took the EPA 5 years to develop a new sticker. No wonder they can’t seem to accurately evaluate the MPG of a vehicle. When they first developed the methodology, cars probably had stone wheels.
One good thing: the current rating does accurately reflect the environmental impact of a vehicle. Most cars on the road today will score between a C and a B. The only A-rated cars out there are hybrids and electrics – which we should see a lot more of in the near future. Nissan is the only company that likes the new system. Understandably because their vehicle is currently the only zero-emissions vehicle to hit the market. By comparison, every other car maker looks like a sloth when it comes to environmental progress.