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May 25, 2011 

EPA Improves Consumer Labels But Stronger Vehicle Standards Needed

Statement by Michelle Robinson, Director of UCS Clean Vehicles Program

WASHINGTON (May 25, 2011) – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced requirements for new fuel economy window labels that U.S. auto dealers place on new cars and light trucks in their showrooms. Below is a statement by Michelle Robinson, director of UCS’s Clean Vehicles Program.

“Americans need all the help they can get to cope with high gas prices, and these new window labels will provide us with better information so we can make better choices at the dealership. Buying a clean, fuel-efficient vehicle is the most effective step anyone can take to save money at the gas pump, reduce auto pollution, and cut America’s oil dependence. The EPA should be applauded for continuing its efforts to get consumers the best information.

“The new labels would have been even better if the auto industry had not pressured the agency to drop plans to give each car a letter grade, which would have been the simplest, most effective way to communicate what consumers should look for in a vehicle. It’s ironic: Just as automakers are rolling out more clean cars, they block a labeling system that would have clearly and concisely told consumers what vehicles deliver the greatest savings, pollution reductions, and energy security benefits.

“This announcement comes as automakers are also trying to undermine strong fuel efficiency and auto pollution standards that will determine whether consumers have real clean vehicle choices in the future.

“Right now, the Obama administration is developing the next phase of standards for new cars and light trucks sold in model years 2017 to 2025. The strongest standards under consideration could reduce new vehicles’ global warming pollution by as much as 6 percent per year and deliver a Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) average of about 60 miles per gallon. Adopting the strongest standards would save consumers $370 billion more through 2030 than the weakest proposal. In that year alone, the strongest standards would cut U.S. oil dependence by 38 billion gallons and prevent 465 million tons of heat-trapping carbon pollution. Regardless, the automakers are fighting them.

“Labels can only tell consumers what they are getting, not what they deserve. Stronger standards ensure that automakers put fuel-saving technology to work to make all vehicles cleaner and more fuel efficient.”

For more information on the upcoming fuel efficiency and auto pollution standards please visit the UCS’s Clean Car Standard Resource Center

 

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with citizens across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.

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