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EPA Rolls Out Used Car MPG Window Stickers

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author photo by Autotrader March 2011

With gas prices rising, many consumers are giving more thought to fuel efficiency – especially budget-minded shoppers looking for used cars. But while it’s easy to find EPA fuel ratings for new cars, it can often be a challenge getting the right gas mileage stats for used cars. Knowing this, the EPA has released a used-car fuel mileage sticker, allowing sellers to advertise their mileage – and buyers to know exactly what they’re getting.

Available for download on the EPA’s website, the printable stickers are by no means mandatory – but they’re certainly informative. In addition to displaying the year, make, and model of the vehicle being sold, the stickers show the engine size, number of cylinders, transmission, and recommended fuel type. Of course, they also provide EPA fuel economy ratings for city, highway, and combined driving cycles. They even include a QR code, which prospective buyers can scan for more information such as annual fuel cost and yearly carbon dioxide emissions.

The listed fuel economy figure is not new information – it’s the very same miles-per-gallon estimate the EPA provided when the used car in question was new. But if sellers choose to provide the stickers, it helps buyers to consolidate the information into one easy-to-see location. Plus, the stickers take into account the EPA’s “new” test procedures for vehicles older than 2008, which more closely resembles real-world driving than previous estimates.

One thing the stickers don’t take into account is how a gas mileage changes as cars age. According to the EPA, that’s because it doesn’t. The government agency says a used car will only see fuel economy decline about 2 percent over its first 15 years of use, provided it’s well-maintained.

The stickers are free of charge, and are available now on the EPA’s website for any car made since 1984. If gas prices continue to rise, we wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not long until they are standard fodder on used car lots – especially for dealers who focus on inexpensive, high-mileage vehicles.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
EPA Rolls Out Used Car MPG Window Stickers - Autotrader