New eco-friendly labelling for cars

A new colour-coded label will appear on all new cars as of July this year, to help buyers assess the climate change impacts of different cars. It will also show that, increasingly, better environmental performance means lower road tax and lower running costs.

The new label is the result of a voluntary agreement by car makers following discussions with environment groups under the auspices of the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, and is being introduced way ahead of EU legislation.

It is designed to be familiar to consumers as it mirrors many important aspects of the energy efficiency labels that appear on most white-goods such as refrigerators.

Commenting on the development, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive Christopher Macgowan said: “By introducing this voluntary label the motor industry has shown its commitment to giving its customers clearer information on environmental performance. Model by model comparisons will be made easier for new car buyers as a result.”

The need for action on transport emissions was highlighted this week when the Environment Agency found that road traffic was the fastest growing source of air pollution and the main reason for 95% of the designated Air Quality Management Areas in the UK.

Edmund King, Executive Director of the RAC foundation said: “The new fuel economy label is a victory for the consumer. Motorists considering buying a new car will be able to see at a glance how green, clean and lean their potential new purchase is. Drivers on lower incomes spend 24% of their household budget on motoring so clear knowledge of fuel efficiency is essential.”

The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership was set up in January 2003 with funding from the Dept. for Transport and the DTI, with a mandate to accelerate the shift to low carbon vehicles and fuels.

By David Hopkins

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