Friday, June 20, 2008

New Calif. Cars to Sport Greenhouse Gas Labels


California Air Resources Board
New cars sold in California will have to include a green label showing estimated greenhouse gas emissions. This illustration explains how the labels work.

SACRAMENTO - New-car shoppers in California will see an easy-to-read label revealing a vehicle's greenhouse gas emissions as soon as next month.

The California Air Resources Board said Thursday the window sticker will give consumers the information they need to choose a cleaner-burning car or light truck.

"This label will arm consumers with the information they need to choose a vehicle that saves gas, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and helps fight smog all at once," board chairman Mary Nichols said in a statement. "Consumer choice is an especially powerful tool in our fight against climate change. We look forward to seeing these stickers on 2009 model cars as they start hitting the showrooms in the coming months."

Approved earlier by California lawmakers and supported by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the regulation was signed into law this week by California Secretary of State Debra Bowen.

The data for the scores is being provided by auto companies to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"The environmental performance label will provide two scores on a scale of 1-10, a Smog Score and a Global Warming Score," the board stated. "The average new car will score five on both scales. The higher the score the less impact the car has on the environment."

For example, the Union of Concerned Scientists estimates a Toyota Corolla will score 7 points and a Dodge Caravan will score 3. The Honda Civic Hybrid will score 9 points, it figures.

All new vehicles sold in California must feature the label by Jan. 1, 2009. The label itself incorporates a smog index label used in California on new vehicles since 1998.

The Air Resources Board noted that Californians purchase some two million new vehicles each year.

"The 25 million vehicles on our roads travel about 900 million miles each day," it stated, "Daily, this produces 2,288 tons of smog precursor emissions and 350,000 tons of global warming gas emissions."

The board also hosts a Web site,, for consumers on the cleanest, most efficient cars on the market.

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