Directive 1999/94/EC requires Member States of the European Union (EU) to ensure that consumers are informed about the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of new passenger cars. The European Commission is currently evaluating the directive. In support of this effort, the authors assess the status of car labelling in the EU. The authors find that all EU Member States have formally implemented national car labelling schemes. However, relevant information is not presented to consumers in a uniform manner. Only 13 Member States have implemented graphic labels that differ in their design, metrics, and classification of vehicles. The fuel consumption data displayed to consumers underrate yearly fuel costs in the order of several hundred Euros per car. The authors argue that car labelling can be made more effective if Member States adopt: (i) a uniform label that mirrors, as far as feasible, the design of the EU energy label, (ii) data and classification metrics that accurately reflect the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions observed by consumers, and (iii) a labelling scale that allows differentiation between efficient hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles. By following these recommendations, the European car labelling can receive wider recognition and foster well-informed consumer choices.
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