WASHINGTON, D.C. --- Consumers are now able to get a better idea of a vehicle's fuel economy because of the new fuel labels appearing on 2008 models. This year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enhanced the window label's design and content to help consumers better understand fuel economy levels. EPA also changed the way fuel figures are calculated so they more closely reflect how vehicles are driven today. Although some of the mileage figures may appear to be down from the same vehicle model a year earlier, the different vehicles' actual fuel economy levels are not declining. They're just being measured using a broader, updated range of real-world factors that better predict actual fuel usage. "This is a transition year, when some cars will still have the old labels and some cars will have the new ones," said Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. "So consumers should be sure they're comparing vehicles with the same label format when considering fuel economy." The labels and new calculations take into consideration many of the factors that have changed in the 20 years since the EPA last updated the labels, McCurdy said. "For example, we now tend to drive at higher speeds, with faster accelerations and while using more air conditioning," McCurdy explained. "But even with these label updates, consumers should still expect their mileage to vary due to several factors." Weather (hot and cold can affect the engine), road conditions (hills, road surface and snow), posted speed limits, tire inflation and other vehicle maintenance conditions all influence vehicle mileage. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is a trade association of nine car and light truck manufacturers including BMW Group, Chrysler, Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Mazda, Mitsubishi Motors, Porsche, Toyota and Volkswagen.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials