New EPA Fuel Mileage Labels Applauded
Russell Long, 415-544-0790, x 18
Danielle Fugere, 415-544-0790, x 15
Long-overdue changes will decrease average fuel mileage values by 5-20% for typical passenger vehicles; 20% for hybrids; largest vehicles such as Hummer and Suburban included for first time
San Francisco, CA – Acting on a petition byBluewater Network, a division of Friends of the Earth, the Environmental Protection Agency released new regulations today that will improve the accuracy of fuel mileage labels used as window stickers for new passenger vehicle buyers. The mileage testing procedures have not been revised since 1985, despite significant changes in American driving habits such as higher speed limits on highways, more aggressive driving, greater use of air conditioning, and an increased share of time spent idling in traffic.
The petition, filed in 2002, was supported by over 30,000 comments by the public as well as other environmental, public health, consumer groups, and media, including AAA, Consumer Reports, Edmunds, and USA Today.
“The era of inflated fuel mileage labeling is over. The EPA did an excellent job with these revisions, which will save motorists money while also reducing global warming pollution,” said Russell Long, Vice President of Bluewater Network, which asked the EPA to make the changes in 2002.
Starting in the 2008 model year, the changes will reduce the city label estimates for most vehicles by approximately 10 to 20 percent from today’s values, depending on the vehicle, but as much as 30 percent for some models. Estimates for highway mpg would generally drop 5 to 15 percent, and as much as 25 percent for some models. Hybrid vehicles would decrease by 20 to 30 percent for city driving, and 10 to 20 percent for highway driving. For example, the average city/highway fuel mileage of today’s Prius design is expected to fall from 60/51 mpg to 44/44 by 2011, with other high-mileage hybrids such as the Honda Civic expected to drop dramatically as well.
The new labels are designed to be more user-friendly as a result of focus-group tests conducted with small groups of motorists, with annual fuel mileage costs for a new vehicle becoming front and center in the new label. In addition, many of the largest SUVs and vans, such as the Hummer, Chevy Suburban, Chevy Avalanche, GMC Yukon, Chevy Express Van, and some Econoline Vans which did not previously have fuel mileage labels due to their status as medium-duty trucks above 8,500 lbs, will now carry fuel mileage labels.
Long continued, “Unfortunately, the new numbers will expose how far short American passenger vehicles are from the 27.5 mpg that Congress intended them to achieve over 30 years ago. It’s time for the National Transportation and Safety Board to stop telling Congress that we’ve hit that target, because in reality, we’re about 20 percent below it.” (EPA Fuel Mileage Trends Report, table M 80: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/cert/mpg/fetrends/420r06011m.pdf)
Bluewater Network has a history of working to reduce emissions from the auto industry. In 2001, Bluewater Network conceived and crafted the California legislation to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions from the passenger vehicle fleet. Since that time, a dozen other states have adopted the California law. In 2005, Canada also enacted similar provisions modeled on the California law.