New Fuel-Economy Stickers Debut For 2013 Vehicles

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Car buyers will soon see a new window sticker detailing each vehicle's fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions. The government unveiled the stickers Wednesday after the auto industry fended off a proposal supported by environmental groups to rate vehicles based an A-F letter grade.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

The U.S. government unveiled new fuel economy window stickers yesterday. They include more information on the fuel efficiency and environmental impact of new cars.

NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports.

ELIZABETH SHOGREN: When you're shopping for a car, the new window sticker will tell you how much more or less you'd spend on fuel over five years for that particular car, compared to the average vehicle. It will also tell you how the car rates on smog and greenhouse gas pollution.

David Friedman, from the Union of Concerned Scientists, says it will help a shopper select a car that saves fuel and money.

Dr. DAVID FRIEDMAN (Union of Concerned Scientists): Maybe it costs a couple hundred dollars more, but if I'm going to save a couple of thousand dollars on gasoline, even in just five years, it's pretty obvious that that's a really good choice to make.

SHOGREN: Environmental groups say the government would have sent a clearer message if the stickers included grades A through F based on how far a car goes on a gallon of gas. Friedman says the auto industry lobbied hard against those grades.

Dr. FRIEDMAN: It's really frustrating that the auto industry had that much influence on the process.

SHOGREN: Friedman hopes the industry doesn't get its way again when the government proposes new fuel efficiency standards for each company's fleet of vehicles.

The Obama administration is considering increasing the standard to somewhere between 40 and 60 miles per gallon by 2025.

Wade Newton from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers says too tough a standard would hurt the auto industry.

Mr. WADE NEWTON (Spokesman, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers): The idea of producing an automobile that the consumer can no longer afford serves no one well.

SHOGREN: The government's proposal is expected in September.

Elizabeth Shogren, NPR News, Washington.

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