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EPA Upgrades Window Stickers

new car letter gradesThe 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.

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