The Monroney sticker or window sticker is a label required in the United States to be displayed in all new automobiles and includes the listing of certain official information about the car. Since the mid-1970s the United States Environmental Protection Agency provides fuel economy metrics in the label to help consumers choose more fuel efficient vehicles. The window sticker was named after Almer Stillwell "Mike" Monroney, United States Senator from Oklahoma. Monroney sponsored the Automobile Information Disclosure Act of 1958, which mandated disclosure of information on new automobiles.
A more comprehensive fuel economy and environment label was mandatory beginning in model year 2013, though some carmakers adopted it voluntarily for model year 2012. The new window sticker includes specific labels for alternative fuel and alternative propulsion vehicles available in the US market, such as plug-in hybrids, electric vehicles, flexible-fuel vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, and natural gas vehicles. The new label introduces the comparison of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles with conventional internal combustion engine vehicles using miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent (MPGe) as a metric. Other information provided for the first time includes greenhouse gas and smog emissions ratings, estimates of fuel cost over the next five years, and a QR Code that can be scanned by a smartphone to allow users access to additional online information. The previous label was issued in 2008.
The Monroney sticker is required to be affixed to the side window or windshield of every new car sold in the United States and can only be removed by the consumer (Chapter 28, Sections 1231-1233, Title 15 of the United States Code). A fine of up to US$1,000 per vehicle for each offense is authorized if the sticker is missing, and other fees and penalties are authorized if the sticker is altered illegally (including imprisonment). The act does not apply to vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 8,500 lb (3,856 kg).
The sticker must include the following information:
- The manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP)
- Engine and transmission specifications
- Standard equipment and warranty details
- Optional equipment and pricing
- City and highway fuel economy ratings, as determined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- As of September 2007, crash test ratings as determined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Redesigned fuel economy label
As required by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), with the introduction of advanced-technology vehicles in the U.S. new information should be incorporated in the Monroney label of new cars and light-duty trucks sold in the country, such as ratings on fuel economy, greenhouse gas emissions, and other air pollutants. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a series of studies to determine the best way to redesign this label to provide consumers with simple energy and environmental comparisons across all vehicles types, including battery electric vehicles (BEV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), and conventional internal combustion engine vehicles powered by gasoline and diesel, in order to help consumers choose more efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles.
As part of the research and redesign process, EPA conducted focus groups where presented participants with several options to express the consumption of electricity for plug-in electric vehicles. The research showed that participants did not understand the concept of a kilowatt hour as a measure of electric energy use in spite of the fact that this is the metric used in their monthly electric bills. Instead, participants favored a miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent, MPGe, as the metric to compare with the familiar miles per gallon used for gasoline vehicles. The research also concluded that the kW-hrs per 100 miles metric was more confusing to focus group participants compared to a miles per kW-hr. Based on these results, EPA decided to use the following fuel economy and fuel consumption metrics on the redesigned labels: MPG (city and highway, and combined); MPGe (city and highway, and combined); Gallons per 100 miles; kW-hrs per 100 miles.
The proposed design and final content for two options of the new sticker label that will be introduced in 2013 model year cars and trucks were consulted for 60 days with the public in 2010, and both included miles per gallon equivalent and kW-hrs per 100 miles as the fuel economy metrics for plug-in cars, but in one option MPGe and annual electricity cost are the two most prominent metrics. One of the design options had a letter grading system from A to D and the rating would have compared a given vehicle’s fuel economy and air pollution to those of the entire fleet of new cars. The letter grade system was opposed by carmakers and rejected after the public consultation. In November 2010, EPA introduced MPGe as comparison metric on its new sticker for fuel economy for the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt.
2013 fuel economy and environment label
In May 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and EPA issued a joint final rule establishing new requirements for a fuel economy and environment label that will be mandatory for all new passenger cars and trucks starting with model year 2013, though carmakers can adopt it voluntarily for model year 2012. The ruling include new labels for alternative fuel and alternative propulsion vehicles available in the US market, such as plug-in hybrids, electric vehicles, flexible-fuel vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, and natural gas vehicles. The common fuel economy metric adopted to allow the comparison of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles with conventional internal combustion engine vehicles is miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent (MPGe). A gallon of gasoline equivalent means the number of kilowatt-hours of electricity, cubic feet of compressed natural gas (CNG), or kilograms of hydrogen that is equal to the energy in a gallon of gasoline.
The new labels include for the first time an estimate of how much fuel or electricity it takes to drive 100 miles (160 km), providing U.S. consumers with fuel consumption per distance traveled, the efficiency metric commonly used in many other countries. EPA's objective is to avoid the traditional miles per gallon metric that can be potentially misleading when consumers compare fuel economy improvements, and known as the "MPG illusion."
- Greenhouse gas ratings of how a model compares to all others for tailpipe emissions of carbon dioxide. A footnote like note clarifies that upstream emissions from electricity generation are not included.
- Smog emissions ratings based on air pollutans such as nitrogen oxide and particulates.
- New ways to compare energy use and cost between new-technology cars that use electricity and conventional cars that are gasoline-powered.
- Estimates on how much more or less consumers will save or spend on fuel over the next five years compared to the average new vehicle.
- Information on the driving range while running in all-electric mode and charging time for plug-in hybrids and electric cars.
- A QR Code that can be scanned by a smartphone to allow users access to online information about how various models compare on fuel economy, the price of gasoline and electricity where the user lives, and other environmental and energy factors. This tool will also allow consumers to enter information about their typical commutes and driving behavior in order to get a more precise estimate of fuel costs and savings.
- Typical labels for each fuel or advanced technology
- "Fact Sheet: New Fuel Economy and Environment Labels for a New Generation of Vehicles". U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. May 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-25. EPA-420-F-11-017
- "EPA, DOT unveil the next generation of fuel economy labels". Green Car Congress. 2011-05-25. Retrieved 2011-05-25.
- Broder, John M. (2011-05-25). "New Mileage Stickers Include Greenhouse Gas Data". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-05-26.
- "15 U.S. Code § 1233 - Violations and penalties". Cornell University. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
- "Fuel Economy Label". U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2011-02-14. Retrieved 2011-02-17.
- Office of Transportation and Air Quality, EPA, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Us DoT (September 2010). "Environmental Protection Agency Fuel Economy Label - Final Report" (PDF). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
- "EPA and NHTSA Propose Changes to the Motor Vehicle Fuel Economy Label" (PDF). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. August 2010. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
- Motavalli, Jim (2010-08-30). "E.P.A. Develops Grading System for New Car Stickers". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
- Bunkley, Nick (2010-11-22). "Nissan Says Its Electric Leaf Gets Equivalent of 99 M.P.G.". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-02-17.
- Meier, Fred (2010-11-24). "Volt is rated 93 mpg on electricity alone, 37 mpg on gas generator". USA Today. Retrieved 2011-02-17.
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