Miles Per Gallon Gasoline Equivalent - Background - 2010–2011: Miles Per Gallon Equivalent

2010–2011: Miles Per Gallon Equivalent

New Monroney label for electric cars showing in prominent larger font the fuel economy rating in miles per gallon gasoline equivalent for the 2011 Nissan Leaf. The rating in KW-hr/100 miles is shown below MPG-e in smaller font.

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) have 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. These changes are proposed to be introduced in new vehicles beginning with model year 2012.

As part of the research and redesign process, EPA conducted focus groups where participants were presented 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 despite the use of this unit in their monthly electric bills. Instead, participants favored a miles per gallon 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 include 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. In November 2010, EPA introduced MPGe as comparison metric on its new sticker for fuel economy for the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt.

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 is mandatory for all new passenger cars and trucks starting with model year 2013. The ruling includes 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 also show for the first time an estimate of how much fuel or electricity it takes to drive 100 miles (160 km), introducing to U.S. consumers with fuel consumption per distance traveled, the metric commonly used in many other countries. EPA explained that the 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.".

Read more about this topic:  Miles Per Gallon Gasoline Equivalent, Background

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