The Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comment on proposed changes to the Fuel Economy Guide.
Adopted in 1975, the Guide (formally, the “Guide Concerning Fuel Economy Advertising for New Automobiles”), helps advertisers avoid making unfair and deceptive claims.
In 2014, the FTC sought public comment on potential updates to the Guide to reflect current Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel economy labeling rules, possible changes to current guidance on miles-per-gallon claims, and the need for guidance on alternative fuel vehicle claims. In response to comments received and agency research on consumer perceptions of certain fuel economy marketing claims, the Commission recommends continuing to advise advertisers:
- To disclose the EPA mileage estimates whenever they make general fuel economy claims, and
- To avoid mileage ratings claims that fail to specify the type of rating (city, highway, or combined).
Regarding alternative-fueled vehicles, the proposed Guide advises advertisers:
- To disclose EPA-mandated driving range test results whenever they make general driving range claims, such as “will go far on a single charge,” and
- To include EPA fuel economy estimates for both gasoline and alternative fuel operation when making a fuel economy claim about a vehicle’s flexible fuel capability.
The Commission vote approving the Federal Register Notice was 3-0. Instructions for filing comments appear in the Federal Register Notice. Comments must be received by August 8, 2016; they will be posted at www.ftc.gov/os/publiccomments.shtm. (FTC File No. R71108; the staff contact is Hampton Newsome, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2889)
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