The recommendations are simple: Scrap the vertical label, lose the letter grade and emphasize the mpg and cost of owning the vehicle. If the EPA takes these steps, it may be successful in increasing the number of fuel-efficient vehicles on the road and communicating clearly with consumers.
Alan Siegel of brand consultants Siegel+Gale summarizes his firm’s independent research on proposed EPA fuel economy label designs in Automotive News [sub]. Siegel interviewed 456 prospective new car buyers, and found that 66 percent preferred the “horizontal” proposal, while 47 percent found the “vertical” style (which includes the letter grade) “confusing.” No word on what percentage found the letter grades to be “asinine.”
The use of the term “MPGe” (miles per gallon equivalent) was also found to be confusing for readers of both labels, but even more so for the vertical label (69 percent misidentified the term on vertical labels, compared to 62 percent on horizontal labels). Siegel’s results have been submitted to the EPA, which is soliciting public comment on the designs. Let us know what you think of the designs, then go vote for yourself at the EPA website. And be sure to use the word “asinine” at least once.