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EPA Proposes Grading System For Car Fuel Economy 272

Posted by Soulskill
from the miles-per-gallon-per-dead-otter dept.
suraj.sun writes with this snippet from CNET: "The EPA and Department of Transportation on Monday proposed a fuel economy label overhaul to reflect how electric and alternative fuel vehicles stack up against gasoline passenger vehicles. ... The changed label, mandated by the 2007 energy law, includes the same information on city and highway miles per gallon and estimated driving costs based on 15,000 miles a year now available. But the new labels add more comparative information, rating cars on mileage, greenhouse gas contribution, and other air pollutants from tailpipe emissions. That means that consumers can look at a label to see how one vehicle compares to all available vehicles, rather than only cars in a specific class. One label proposes grades, ranging from an A-plus to a D. There are no failing grades, since vehicles need to comply with the Clean Air Act."
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EPA Proposes Grading System For Car Fuel Economy

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  • Re:Giant letter? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki&gmail,com> on Monday August 30, 2010 @09:15PM (#33422548) Homepage

    Well both of the sheets shown are terrible. They're at information overload, for most people who only care about how far will it go on X type of fuel.

  • I call BS.kg (Score:3, Interesting)

    by B5_geek (638928) on Monday August 30, 2010 @09:21PM (#33422596)

    'Greenhouse gas emmisions'?
    Does this include the source power generation? Of course not, because some regions use wind/solar/nuclear, which have a vastly different greenhouse gas emmsiions then others.

    Why not use SIMPLE standard units. It's up to the buyers to know the source of the fuel.
    N/m@0-10km/h, 11-50km/h, 51-80km/h, 81-100km/h

    All cars can compete on this scale. If a 3000kg SUV takes 40kN/m to go from 0-10km/h, and an all electric 1000kg Prius takes 5kN to achieve the same task, we can figure out what is better.

    They should also mandate the energy density be displayed at all fuel pumps/charging stations.

    e.g.
    diesel: 1000N/L
    gasoline: 300N/L
    natural gas: 200N/L
    (my mind is fuzzy on how to apply this to all-electric, but plenty of the folks on here are smarter then I am), but my point still stands.

    Label everything based on the one common denominator: energy.

  • Re:Giant letter? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by blackraven14250 (902843) on Monday August 30, 2010 @09:23PM (#33422606)
    All they need to do is make the mileage numbers bigger, so that the people who don't care about anything else don't go into that info overload mode. I like that they added the other numbers to the label, though.
  • It's all BS (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 30, 2010 @09:30PM (#33422654)

    I'm generally in the "fuck copying Europe" camp, but they've got something with the liters/100 km approach. Gas and Diesel cars should be rated in gallons/100 miles, and electric/hybrid cars should be given an equivalent assuming that the power comes from a modern coal plant delivered to San Diego, and that CO2 emissions are measured in gallons of gasoline. Of course, the activists won't go for that, because they'll be forced to admit that their precious cars pollute arizona instead of socal. However, it'll give a fair comparison for everyone else. Nobody knows what a newton or erg is, so Newtons are absolutely useless. However, we know how much energy is in a gallon of gasoline ... roughly a gallon of gasoline.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 30, 2010 @09:34PM (#33422674)

    A van that carries 15 people at 15 mpg is not worse for the environment than someone driving a 50mpg vehicle by themselves, but I'm guessing the same ratings will apply. Have they given up on the concept of multi-passenger vehicles and just assume everyone drives alone?

  • Re:I call BS.kg (Score:2, Interesting)

    by maxume (22995) on Monday August 30, 2010 @09:38PM (#33422704)

    For the most part, people buying SUVs aren't comparing them to a Prius.

    I suppose some people are, but I don't see how it could possibly be the majority, just the ones trying to decide which one projects a better image, and I don't think they really give a shit about how much fuel each one uses.

  • by east coast (590680) on Monday August 30, 2010 @09:49PM (#33422786)
    The person who's buying the vehicle is likely to have the same number of passengers regardless of the fuel economy so that's kind of a moot point.
  • Re:It's all BS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Cinder6 (894572) on Monday August 30, 2010 @09:58PM (#33422832)

    Honest question here. Why is gallons/100 miles preferable? It's always seemed backwards and clumsy to me.

    With gal/100mi, it's more complicated to figure out how much gas you need to go X miles (with miles/gallon, it's simply X/mileage), and it also provides a more useful number when comparing cars. Sure, Car A might need 2.5 gallons/100mi and Car B needs 3 gallons/100mi, but that tells you less about the actual mileage (40 vs. 33.33).

  • Suggestions to EPA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wildsurf (535389) on Monday August 30, 2010 @10:05PM (#33422876) Homepage
    I submitted a comment to the EPA suggesting that the "Gallons / 100 Miles" number be more prominent relative to MPG. (Converting to metric is a lost cause, unfortunately.)

    I also suggested that they add "Gallons SAVED per 100 miles" relative to an average car in its class. This statistic can be surprising: switching from a 33mpg Corolla to a 50mpg Prius saves one gallon per 100 miles, but switching from a 10mpg Hummer to a 14mpg Land Rover saves three gallons per 100 miles driven.
  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Monday August 30, 2010 @10:12PM (#33422924) Homepage Journal

    and fewer of those around would make the roads a lot safer for those of us on two wheels anyway

    Bicycle commuter here. To be honest I am not sure it would be safer. Cars (and trucks, etc) keep people driving in lanes. With fewer cars on the road there will be more vehicles behaving like a swarm, and less safety over all. I know its a behavioral issue and it should be addressed with education and enforcement, but I would hate to see the roads I ride on turn into the roads I see in Asia.

  • Re:I call BS.kg (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LehiNephi (695428) on Monday August 30, 2010 @10:16PM (#33422954) Journal
    Sure, they have an excuse for leaving off the upstream greenhouse gas emissions, due to varying sources. That omission also makes the car seem more environmentally friendly.
    Another convenient omission from the sticker is recharge time. Of all the different metrics they're using on these cars, recharge time would be the easiest to calculate and/or test. And yet it is left off.
  • Re:Uh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jonwil (467024) on Monday August 30, 2010 @10:37PM (#33423074)

    No, once a car has been graded, the grade shouldn't need to change unless something is done to the car that makes it more fuel efficient somehow.

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@ l y n x.bc.ca> on Monday August 30, 2010 @10:58PM (#33423190) Journal

    If a car performs really well, it might get an A...

    But then a few years down the road, improved technology could make that A rating in 2010 look like a C- or D in 2015, and other "A" rated cars come out that perform far better. Yet the 2010 car still has the "A" rating... so it isn't fairly compared to newer cars.

  • Re:Giant letter? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Bing Tsher E (943915) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @11:41AM (#33426742) Journal

    I sometimes feel bad for the guys in charge, it's apparently impossible to please people.

    I almost never do.

    What entitles them to 'be in charge?' Usually nothing more than some sort of hijinks in the background. Why do they have a leading role in the first place? If it's because a meritocracy has brought them to that point, they have no need to worry about 'pleasing people,' their peers will respect them for what they are.

    If they're opportunists who are pushing around power they don't deserve to have, or zealots on a mission to control others, fuck them. Nothing else matters about them. Get the hell out of our way.

  • Re:Giant letter? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nabsltd (1313397) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @11:48AM (#33426822)

    Presumably, your Ford Ranger would have had a sticker like "over five years, this vehicle costs $5,200 more than average"

    Unless the sticker had a lot of fine print explanations, this would just cause more confusion and complaints. What, exactly, is the "average" that is being compared to? The average for all "similar" vehicles? The average for all passenger cars? Or passenger cars plus "light trucks"?

    And, since fuel prices change, will the price per gallon assumption on the sticker change? If so, will it happen such that a dealer might have two identical cars on the lot with different "costs $XXX more/less" stickers? What about diesel and premium...will vehicles that use those have different costs per gallon?

    Right now with only the EPA mileage rating on the sticker, there is no confusion, and it's enough information to compare to any other car at any car dealership. It's also one of the few things that can be objectively tested but only over longer than a typical test drive.

    For a purchase as large as a car, there's no way to put everything you need to know for an "informed comparison" on the window sticker. A lot of other costs (repair costs, insurance, etc.) might dwarf the savings/penalty for fuel cost listed on the sticker. If you haven't done your homework about those things and rely only on the window sticker, it's likely you're going to be making a bad decision.

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