EPA/DOT Proposed Fuel Economy Labels – Click above for high-res versions
It's always a tough road to hoe when it comes time to make wholesale changes to something consumers know and are comfortable with – just ask Car and Driver. But, progress is progress, and sometimes a redesign is necessary in order to keep pace with the times.
Such is the case with today's fuel economy labels. Although we all understand what miles per gallon means (well, mostly...) and what kind of figures we should expect from a given type of vehicle, the future has plenty in store that will drastically change all of that; namely, electric cars and plug-in hybrids. That being the case, the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation were charged with designing completely revised fuel economy labels for new vehicles at the dealership.
Judging by the response from our earlier article on the subject, consumers are split on the effectiveness of the new stickers. A new study from Siegel+Gale seems to confirm this suspicion. The full details can be found in the press release after the break and from this PDF, but the gist is as follows.
Two-thirds of respondents preferred the horizontal option over the vertical option (see here), but 38-percent still found something confusing about the winning label. Respondents said that miles per gallon scored an 86 (out of 100) as the most important figure, while greenhouse gas emissions scored a 68.
As for us, we're thinking that much of the problem lies with the fact that the public at large still doesn't understand electric vehicles and, more specifically, extended-range electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. Many of the features consumers say they could do without were added to the labels in an attempt to give an accurate representation of electric vehicle mileage benefits.