WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency unveiled new fuel economy labels, the first overhaul of the labels since the program began 30 years ago. The new labels show fuel economy information, estimated annual fuel costs, and emissions information. These new labels will begin appearing on vehicles on dealer lots in 2013 and are required on gasoline- and diesel-fueled vehicles and those that run on alternative fuels or electricity.

The new labels provide insight into the current state of the automotive industry and its relationship with the federal government. The EPA and DOT developed these labels by working with the auto industry, environmental groups, and consumers.

You can view a gallery of the labels here.

The original plan for the new label included “letter grades,” which would have rated fuel economy with a grade such as A, B,C, etc. After a comment period, the EPA and DOT decided to go with the version shown above.

Some of the key data points on the label include annual fuel cost, mpg equivalents for non-gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles, a tailpipe emission ratings, a smog check rating, fuel savings over a five-year period (the fuel prices the savings are based on is listed in fine print), and even a QR code (an image that you can take a picture of with a web-enabled smartphone to get more information about the vehicle).

In related news, the Administration said that in July it plans to finalize the first-ever national fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards for commercial trucks, vans, and buses built in 2014 to 2018.

The Administration is also developing the next generation of joint fuel economy/greenhouse gas emission standards for model year 2017-2025 passenger vehicles and said it expects to announce the proposal in September 2011.

You can check out an interactive version of the label that explains the label's design in depth at the DOE's FuelEconomy.gov site here. Note that the tabs along the top of the interactive label allows you to see label designs for alternative-fuel vehicles as well.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet