New auto fuel efficiency stickers coming

Dollar bill sticking out of gas tank

In a further attempt to coax us out of SUVs and other low gas mileage vehicles, the Environmental Protection Agency is revising the window sticker on all new cars and trucks beginning with the 2013 model year.

The sticker, called a Monroney sticker, is the sheet of paper tacked to the inside of a window of every new car or truck. It contains key information such as the manufacturer's suggested retail price, standard features, optional features and their prices, safety ratings and fuel economy.

It's the fuel economy information with which the EPA is tinkering.

Think of it as your federal tax dollars at work.

Rather than the "EPA Fuel Economy Estimates," this section will be labeled as the "EPA/DOT Fuel Economy and Environment."

Occupying roughly a quarter of the page, its location on the window sticker varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but is easy to find.

The revised version has several different formats reflecting the different types of energy new vehicles consume: gasoline, diesel, natural gas, flex fuel, electricity, a gas-electric mix or some other alternative fuel.

You can view examples of the new fuel economy stickers at the EPA website.

Betting that nothing speaks louder to a consumer than money, the most significant addition to the sticker to sway our behavior is the vehicle's five-year estimated fuel savings or extra cost when compared to the "average new vehicle."

It is one of the largest numbers on the entire window sticker.

Based on a $3.70 per-gallon gasoline cost and 15,000 miles driven per year, the average new vehicle, according to the mouse print on the sticker, gets 22 mpg with a five-year fuel cost of $12,600.

We will be able to determine how every new vehicle built for 2013 and later stacks up to the EPA's average new vehicle.

Will this make a difference in your buying habits? Probably not if you require a pickup truck, SUV, minivan or large sedan for work or family needs.

Also, once the sticker has been removed from the window, who is going to know the savings or extra cost?

It seems to me if the EPA wants to really effect a change in buying habits, it should require manufacturers to paint the five-year fuel-cost savings or extra cost on the side of the vehicle.

I hope I haven't given the government an idea.

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