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Behind the eco labels: UK Fuel Economy Label

Pat Thomas

1st April, 2007

This labelling scheme, introduced in October 2001 and found on all new cars, indicates how much carbon dioxide a car emits. It also gives estimated fuel costs for 12,000 miles and the vehicle excise duty for 12 months, so car buyers can see how much these will cost before they buy.

Although it looks like the European Energy Label the similarity ends there. The Fuel Economy Label, for instance, does not indicate that the car has been subjected to any particular criteria. Critics argue that the label puts the onus on the car buyer to choose a low-emissions vehicle, instead of on the automotive industry to improve CO² emissions across the board.

The Ecologist says

We don’t recommend buying cars. If you are considering doing so, look at all the options. Around 25 per cent of the environmental pollution and 20 per cent of a car’s lifetime energy expenditure occurs during manufacture. See if you can cut costs and impact by sharing the ownership of the car with a friend. Where available (London and other urban centres), look into car clubs. And if you are buying new, electric or hybrid cars are improving by the year.

This article first appeared in the Ecologist May 2007

To find out the truth behind other Eco Labels click here


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