Since the beginning of the year, all 2009 model year vehicles (and anything newer, once they're available) sold in California will be sporting a new sticker. No, not the kind that makes your car worth $4,000 more but the kind that describes the vehicle's global warming and smog scores. Just look under the hood of that new car (if you're the unusual kind of person who's still out there car shopping) and you'll see it, courtesy of the California Air Resources Board. As some of you pointed out in the summer when we first got word of these new stickers, the 1-10 rating scale is somewhat counter-intuitive. A higher score means the car is cleaner/better. An average car, CARB says, will get a five. The best of the best, right now, is the GEM, which gets two 10s. That "perfect" rating means that the vehicle emits less than 200 grams of CO2-equivalent per mile. A score of one means the car spits out more than 520 grams over the same distance. Cars like the Honda Civic hybrid and the Prius score nines.

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