In its continuing effort to educate the public about the benefits of driving electric vehicles, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a new label for them. Everything the EPA wants you to know, point by point, is in one handy place. Each new electric vehicle carries a label entitled, "Fuel Economy and Environment."
Starting in its top right corner, the label's Item 1 informs you that electricity powers the vehicle, and a small electric plug icon confirms it. Under the title, "Fuel Economy" on the label's left side, you'll see the plug icon again, next to a number in big, bold digits. This is Item 2, the combined city/highway fuel economy number. It's known as the miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent, or MPGe. You want to pay close attention to it, and here's why.
The EPA uses the miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent, MPGe, to measure fuel economy for electric vehicles. This figure indicates the number of miles the vehicle can travel using an amount of fuel that delivers the same energy content as a gallon of gasoline. Use that big, bold number on the label to compare electric vehicle mileage to vehicles that use gas or alternative fuels, such as compressed natural gas (CNG).
To the right of the MPGe, you'll find Item 3, the range for the vehicle size. For midsize electric vehicles, the MPGe range starts at 10, and the highest MPGe rating in the range tops out at 99. In the center of the label, Item 5 tells you the city and highway MPGe, and the fuel consumption rate measured in kilowatt-hours, which is the way to measure units of electric energy. Look further to the right for Item 4, the amount of money you save in fuel costs over five years by driving an electric vehicle instead of the average new vehicle. Note that this figure is based on driving 15,000 miles per year at a constant cost of $0.12 per kilowatt-hour. The EPA offers more details about this in Item 10, the fine print.
Under the fuel economy figure on the left, you'll see Item 13, the driving range. Unrelated to golf, this item tells you how many miles the vehicle will go on a full charge battery charge. Item 14 below it tells you how many hours it takes to charge a vehicle using 240-volt electrical service. Just below the charge time, label Item 6 shows the vehicle's estimated annual fuel cost. Refer back to the label's fine print in Item 10.
Look in the box to the right of the fuel cost for Item 7, "Fuel Economy & Greenhouse Gas Rating." Each vehicle receives a rating from 1 (worst) to 10 (best) for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions. The rating chart shows how much carbon dioxide (CO2) per mile the vehicle’s tailpipe puts out. Generally, better greenhouse gas emissions ratings mean greater fuel economy. Item 8 shows CO2 emissions from the vehicle tailpipe. Electric vehicles have zero grams per mile CO2 output, because they don't have tailpipe emissions. Item 9, the "Smog Rating" on the far right side of the label, uses the 1 to 10 rating system like Item 8, and measures other air pollution materials from tailpipe emissions. Again, electric vehicles register zero.
In the label's bottom right corner, Item 11 gives you a QR code to scan with your smartphone or mobile device app. The QR code gives you more vehicle information and helpful tools to make additional calculations. No smartphone or app? No worries. Go to the website at Item 12, www.fueleconomy.gov and get the same information and tools.
So there you have it, electric car fans. You are the new expert on electric vehicle fuel economy and the environment. Now go and impress your friends on social media with your new-found knowledge about electric vehicles!