1981-06-01

Impact of Fuel Economy Information on New Car and Light Truck Buyers 810779

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established an automobile fuel economy information program shortly after the oil embargo, effective for the 1974 model year. The U.S. Department of Energy (formerly the Federal Energy Administration) joined EPA soon afterward in sponsoring the information program. The program is aimed at furnishing consumers with information on estimated miles per gallon of new cars and light duty trucks. The mechanisms for distributing such information include mandatory display of fuel economy ratings on new vehicles, and copies of a printed Gas Mileage Guide for New Car Buyers required to be made available in car dealer showrooms.The program has gone through a number of changes over the years. Consumer interest in fuel economy has also increased in the past few years. Along with this increasing interest has come increased criticism of the EPA/EOE information program.In response to this criticism and in view of the many changes in the program the DOE initiated a comprehensive evaluation of the information program. The evaluation was aimed at obtaining an accurate understanding of the public's perception of the existing program and developing other information needed to make improvements in the program. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used to assess program awareness and impact. The results of this evaluation, along with major findings and recommendations are presented.

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