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Federal agencies issue optional used-car fuel economy label

October 11, 2013
The U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency have released a fuel economy label for optional, voluntary use by used vehicle sellers.
 
Labels can be printed or downloaded from www.fueleconomy.gov for light-duty vehicles dating 1984. Dealers or private sellers interested in using the label can display it on or in their used vehicles, or hand it to prospective customers.
 
The National Automobile Dealers Association developed several FAQs to assist dealers with issues related to the new used vehicle label:
 
Q: What’s on the used vehicle fuel economy label?
 
A: The label includes fuel economy ratings from when the vehicle was new, a vehicle photo, vehicle configuration information (e.g., engine size, transmission type, and fuel type), and a scannable QR code linking to www.fueleconomy.gov.
 
Q: How does this label compare to the EPA/NHTSA label for new vehicles?
 
A: The label for new vehicles is mandatory for manufacturers of light-duty vehicles, who typically include the fuel economy ratings on the Monroney label. The used vehicle label is voluntary and optional. In addition, the used-vehicle label has less information than the one for new vehicles. Both labels have disclaimers regarding the real world fuel economy the vehicle may achieve.
 
Q: How can the fuel economy ratings for vehicles (when they were new) apply to them when they are used?
 
A: Data shows that a vehicle’s fuel economy changes very little over its typical 15-year life, assuming it is properly serviced and maintained. Importantly, the EPA’s fuel economy estimates are generated for each vehicle under similar laboratory conditions, enabling shoppers to make good vehicle-to-vehicle fuel economy comparisons. Again, the importance of the disclaimer regarding “real world” fuel economy cannot be overstated.
 
Q: What else do I need to know about the used vehicle label disclaimer?
 
A: Since the fuel economy any vehicle actually will achieve is dependent on a variety of factors, the used-vehicle label states: “Actual fuel economy will vary for many reasons including driving conditions and how the car was driven, maintained, or modified. This label contains EPA mileage and CO2 estimates for this vehicle when new.”
 
Q: Any other considerations?
 
A: While the DOE and the EPA used-vehicle label is voluntary and optional, the NADA suggests that it be used if and when any claims are made regarding a used-vehicle’s fuel economy. Also, it is possible that some OEMs may elect to suggest or require use of the label with certified used-vehicle programs.
 
 

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