Rating the new fuel economy labels

The EPA's proposed fuel economy labels range from baffling to genuinely useful.

1 of 5
BACKNEXT
Today's label
Today's label
Grade: B

The government is asking for public comment on two proposed designs for new fuel economy labels. So here's what I think of today's label, and the two proposed designs. There are also a couple of others designed to deal with electric cars and, even more confusing, gasoline-electric plug-in hybrids.

The current EPA fuel economy sticker isn't so bad, really. The information is simply and clearly represented.

So what's wrong? First of all, do you drive in the city all the time? Or only on the highway? This sticker makes a big deal out of the separate city and highway figures while burying the more useful "combined" fuel economy. Besides making it harder to compare cars, it also allows automakers to do less about overall fuel economy and focus on highway fuel economy, which is relatively easy to boost and gives big numbers.

Also, by focusing only on "miles per gallon," these labels make hard to really see how much fuel a car uses. What you're seeing is how far it goes on a gallon. That's not too helpful. We need labels that make it easier to understand what we really want to know: How much gas this car will use.



NEXT: Graded sticker
Last updated September 02 2010: 6:00 AM ET
More Galleries
Top-paying jobs Orthopedic surgeons take home a median $410,000 in salary and bonus annually. What other great careers from CNNMoney and PayScale.com's list of Best Jobs in America offer hefty paychecks? More
Fastest-growing jobs Demand for IT security consultants are projected to grow a solid 37% between 2012 and 2022. What other careers on CNNMoney and PayScale.com's list of America's best jobs will see big opportunities? More
Best Jobs in America CNNMoney/PayScale's top 100 careers with big growth, great pay and satisfying work. More

Special Offer

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2015 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2015. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2015 and/or its affiliates.