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Fuel Economy Sticker Revs Up Used Car Sales

May 1, 2014 - 2:29pm

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FuelEconomy.gov’s newest tool -- the Used Car Fuel Economy Label -- makes it easier for consumers to compare used cars, select the most fuel-efficient model and save money at the pump. | Photo by the Energy Department.

FuelEconomy.gov’s newest tool -- the Used Car Fuel Economy Label -- makes it easier for consumers to compare used cars, select the most fuel-efficient model and save money at the pump. | Photo by the Energy Department.

For the past five years, used car sales have been booming. Last year alone, more than 40 million used light-duty vehicles were sold in the U.S. -- that's more than twice as many as new car and light truck sales -- and this year they’re expected to grow further. But until recently, consumers buying these cars had little insight into the vehicle’s gas mileage. Now one of FuelEconomy.gov’s newest tools -- the Used Car Fuel Economy Label -- makes it easier for consumers to compare used cars, select the most fuel-efficient model and save money at the pump.

Using FuelEconomy.gov’s database of light-duty cars and trucks sold in the U.S. since model year 1984, the new interactive tool allows consumers to create a fuel economy sticker for the vehicles they are selling. To get started, users select their vehicle year, make, model and engine options. The tool then creates a label similar to the one displayed on new cars, featuring information about the vehicle’s EPA-estimated fuel economy for both city and highway driving, how many gallons of fuel it takes to drive 100 miles and its estimated greenhouse emissions.

The label’s data are based on gas mileage estimates from when the vehicle was new -- that's because a car’s fuel economy changes very little over the course of a typical 15-year life when properly maintained. But just like a new vehicle, a consumer’s individual mileage can vary depending on how or when the vehicle is driven.

The used car label also includes information about the vehicle’s engine, transmission and fuel type. Users can download the label as a graphic file -- which they can embed in an online advertisement -- or they can print it to display on their vehicle.

The used car fuel economy sticker is good news for both buyers and sellers since 29 percent of consumers list fuel economy as the most important feature when purchasing a vehicle. Sellers can now advertise a vehicle’s gas mileage, and buyers are armed with reliable data to make informed decisions about a vehicle’s cost of ownership.

So next time you are looking to buy or sell a used car, be sure to check out FuelEconomy.gov

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