I was talking to a fellow sustainability geek the other day. He was telling me about the new gadget, installed by his friendly, neighborhood electric utility, that very closely monitors his home energy use and gives vivid color readouts on just how much juice is being consumed. You won’t be surprised to learn that he and his family are paying closer attention. It turns out that not only do consumers pay attention when they are made aware of their energy use, but they pay even more attention when they have a sense of what their neighbors are doing. The estimable Dave Roberts, for instance, had this the other day at Grist on this phenomenon.
The US EPA and Department of Transportation, furthering their excellent work on raising the CAFE standards, are rolling out new stickers for new cars describing a number of key parameters: fuel economy in MPG or MPGe, annual fuel cost, fuel cost savings over five years (compared to an average gasoline vehicle), plus separate ratings for greenhouse gases and smog-inducing pollutants. You can also scan more in-depth information into your smartphone. There are different stickers for gas vehicles, electric vehicles, and plug-in hybrids. (Go to the Department of Energy’s comprehensive www.fueleconomy.gov website, here specifically, for a closer look at the stickers.) The new labels will appear on model 2013 cars and trucks.
These new labels will drive consumer behavior. The EPA and DOT press release quotes EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson: “Today’s car buyers want the best possible information about which cars on the lot offer the greatest fuel economy and the best environmental performance.” DOT Secretary Ray LaHood said: “Our new fuel economy and environmental labels are a win for automobile consumers and for the nation’s energy independence.” See also this story today from the NYT.
Put another x in the win column for the consumer and the planet.