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Fighting Global Warming One Car at a Time

CO2 emissions information is already required on all new cars in Europe; a 2005 California law mandates similar information be provided on all cars starting in the 2009 model year.

Published: 24-Mar-2006

Performance reviews. Reliability ratings. Government crash and rollover test findings. Fuel-mileage data. Car shoppers sort through all sorts of information before they make the big leap. Now, Resources For the Future suggests buyers also should consider carbon-dioxide emissions.

Katherine N. Probst, a senior fellow at the nonprofit, nonpartisan research group, has devised an easy-to-read window label so shoppers can easily determine if that car they want is a big polluter. The colorful labels would help consumers make the link between fuel economy and global warming, Probst said. So a blue "Best" label would go to the Chevrolet Malibu, Dodge Neon, Ford Focus, Honda's Accord and Civic, Mazda3, Nissan Sentra and Toyota's Camry, Corolla and Prius Hybrid. Meanwhile, the black "Worst" label would be attached to Chevrolet's Express, Silverado, Tahoe and Trailblazer, Dodge's Ram Pickup, Ford's Econoline, Explorer and F-Series and GMC's Sierra. For ratings in between, read Probst's article, "Combating Global Warming One Car at a Time."

"For every gallon of gas burned, your car produces roughly 20 pounds of carbon dioxide," Probst said in a news release. "Why not provide consumers with details on carbon-dioxide emissions on a car-by-car basis and enable them to draw on that information if they are concerned about the issue?"

Such information is already required on all new cars in Europe; a 2005 California law mandates similar information be provided on all cars starting in the 2009 model year, Probst said. The Environmental Protection Agency is now weighing new fuel-economy labels--but none of the proposed designs include carbon dioxide emissions data.

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