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The Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comments on the costs, benefits, necessity, and regulatory and economic impact of its Labeling Requirements for Alternative Fuels and Alternative Fueled Vehicles (AFVs), also called the Alternative Fuels Rule.

The FTC is conducting this review as part of the agency's ongoing, systematic review of all FTC rules and guides. Last year, the FTC announced that it would accelerate the review of the Alternative Fuels Rule to ensure that FTC-required vehicle labels are consistent with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel economy labeling requirements.

The FTC first published the Alternative Fuels Rule in 1995 as directed by the Energy Policy Act of 1992. To enable consumers to make informed buying decisions, the Rule requires informative labels on fuel dispensers for non-liquid alternative fuels, such as electricity, compressed natural gas, and hydrogen, and on new and used AFVs that run on liquid and non-liquid fuels. In addition to seeking comments on general questions about the Rule, the FTC seeks comments on whether to 1) consolidate its AFV labels with fuel economy labels required by the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2) add new definitions for AFVs contained in recent legislation, and 3) change labeling requirements for used AFVs.

Pending completion of the Rule’s review, the FTC will not enforce FTC labeling requirements for electric vehicles as long as manufacturers follow EPA labeling requirements. This enforcement policy will help eliminate consumer confusion and industry burden caused by inconsistencies between FTC and EPA labeling requirements for electric vehicles. In addition, the FTC will suspend its ongoing review of the Fuel Economy Guide until the Commission completes its Rule review and EPA publishes updated fuel economy labeling requirements. The FTC adopted the Guide in 1975 to prevent deceptive fuel economy advertising and facilitate the use of EPA fuel economy information in new automobile advertising.

Public comments on the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking announced today will be accepted until July 25, 2011. Instructions for submitting comments are found in the Notice. The Commission vote approving the ANPR was 5-0. (FTC File No. R311002; the staff contact is Hampton Newsome, Division of Enforcement, 202-326-2889)

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(Alternative Fuels Rule)

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