A step in the right direction

The EPA has announced a new fuel efficiency label for cars, displaying vastly more information for consumers, including fuel economy for city driving, highway driving, and a new combined city/highway fuel efficiency data point.

The label also tells you how many gallons driving 100 miles will take, the annual fuel cost (assuming 15,000 miles driving in a year) and two ratings, one for fuel economy and one for tailpipe smog emissions.

Depending on the car, the label also tells you how much you save (or spend) in fuel costs over 5 years compared to the average new vehicle. There's also a scannable QR code for smartphones that links to additional information and tools. And you can change the default driving assumptions -- ratio of highway to city, miles traveled per year -- to reflect yours.

Equally important, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been raising average fuel efficiency requirements for fleets of motor vehicles that include light, and now medium and heavy-weight trucks. . . in the past, manufacturers had hidden the poor gas mileage of heavier cars like SUVs by calling them light-weight trucks. Now these cars, and trucks, will have to meet higher standards. You can look at NHTSA's Fuel Economy page for more information.

I've been away for two weeks but am now back and ready to keep posting.

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