California’s new auto emissions labels help sort out cleanest vehicles

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

Just like you hunt for that Energy Star tag when examining a fridge or washer, people in California can now duck under the hood of any new 2009 model car to get an at-a-glance emissions rating.

The Environmental Performance sticker, mandated to begin on Jan. 1 for all new model cars, will include two scores, one rating the car’s smog emissions and the other its greenhouse gas output. The air pollutants for the latter include carbon dioxide emissions, which make up the greatest volume of greenhouse gases. Gas engine cars emit nitrous oxides, methane gases, hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide and other emissions.