Archive for September 11, 2010


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed new window stickers for all cars/trucks sold in the United States.  The mandates come from a 2007 law (not implemented by the Bush Administration) that requires labels to put a new vehicle in context with the rest of the herd.  The EPA’s mandate must take into account (1) fuel economy, (2) greenhouse gasses and (3) smog-forming pollutants.  It also must contextualize your average car/truck with a gasoline-fueled internal combustion engine with EVs, hybrids and advanced clean diesels.

One of two new stickers assigns letter grades (remember elementary school?) from A+ to D-.   It’s pretty easy to guess which car gets the highest and lowest grades.  A pure EV (electric vehicle), like the Nissan Leaf, will get an A+ (117  mpg and higher) while my Italian friends, Lamborghini and Ferrari, would get the D-.

Proposed EPA-DOT Window Sticker with Letter Grade

Note that the sticker even has a QR Code™ that can be read by your smartphone to get even more information about the car and the EPA’s ratings.

A plug-in hybrid, rated at the equivalent of 59 – 116 mpg, like the upcoming Chevy Volt (it has an internal combustion engine that runs a generator to juice the batteries to give it an extended range) would get an A.   “Normal” hybrids like the Toyota Prius and the Ford Fusion would earn an A-.  Lesser hybrids, like the Nissan Altima, Ford Escape and Toyota Camry will have to sit in the second row and with a B+. (more…)