News & Views

California, Vermont Require Carbon Labels for Cars

Jan. 2, 2009 - All new cars sold in California and Vermont will now be labeled according to climate impact, thanks to state regulations that take effect this month.

California's new labeling scheme is an expansion of the state's Smog Index label, which has been in use since 1998.

The revised label now includes a Smog Score and a Global Warming Score, both on a scale of 1-10. The higher the score, the less impact the car has on the environment.

"This label will arm consumers with the information they need to choose a vehicle that saves gas, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and helps fight smog all at once," says Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board (ARB). "Consumer choice is an especially powerful tool in our fight against climate change."

Environmental performance data will be also be posted on ARB's DriveClean website. (Search for the cleanest vehicles here.)

Vermont's car-labeling law, adopted in May 2007, is based on the California rule. The scheme takes effect Jan. 3.

"These new labels will make it easy for Vermonters to choose cleaner vehicles while comparing fuel efficiency," says Jonathan Wood, secretary of Vermont's Agency of Natural Resources. "Vermont is still the greenest state in the country but our largest output of greenhouse gas emissions comes from transportation."