D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021

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Fuel economy has been represented on new car window stickers for decades.
Fuel economy has been represented on new car window stickers for decades. (image by thesunsfinancialdiary.com)

Auto manufacturers and auto dealers have been required since the 1970s to submit cars for testing by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for overall fuel economy ratings. These ratings are prominently displayed on the window sticker that manufacturers are required to place on all new cars. Make sure your sticker is on a vehicle window or windshield, and that it is easy to see.

While the EPA has changed the way cars are tested in a major way twice: once in the 1980s, and again in 2008, they’ve never provided information on testing of used cars, at least not until now, which may seem strange, since 80 percent of all car buyers are buying used cars, and only 20 percent of auto sales involve new cars. That is a 4:1 ratio, so it seems obvious there might have been some sort of demand for these types of window stickers in the past.

The EPA now offers an online tool at their fuel economy website that allows buyers and used car dealerships to view and print window stickers representing the EPA ratings for a used car’s EPA ratings on fuel economy. The only requirement is that the vehicle must be one that was sold in the United States since 1984, as the database currently only supports models dating back to that point in time.

According to the EPA, a car’s fuel economy and fuel efficiency changes very little over the course of its lifetime, as long as it is properly maintained. Thus, the EPA estimates of fuel economy can be an accurate representation of the gas mileage one can expect to receive with a used automobile.

The window stickers show the fuel economy ratings established by the EPA during their testing process. It includes city, highway and combined fuel economy ratings. The stickers also include a photo of the vehicle and all of the information about the vehicle’s actual build statistics, like engine size, transmission type, and fuel type. If need be, you can also get a blank window sticker.

The used car window stickers also include a QR code, which can be scanned by many smart phones for more information about a car by linking a customer directly to the specific vehicle’s information on the EPA website. There they will find more detailed information, including data on the vehicle’s annual fuel costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

Before making any final decisions on your insurance company, it is important to learn as much as you can about your local insurance providers, and the coverages they offer. Call your local insurance agent to clear up any questions that you might have. Questions to consider asking include, “What is the best coverage plan for me/my family/my situation?” “What are the minimum coverage requirements in my state and what form of coverage do you recommend?” “Do you guys offer any bundle discounts if I take out both my auto insurance and home insurance with you?” and “What is the average rate of insurance quotes you guys offer?”

Before making any big insurance decisions, use our free tool to compare insurance quotes near you. It’s simple, just plug in your zip code and we’ll do the rest!