Additional Math Pages & Resources

Thursday, September 2, 2010

FEEC Labels, Part I

The hat blogs earlier this week pointed out how something as simple as a HAT can be complicated.

Today we look at a truly-complicated subject - car window labels to convey how environmentally-friendly a car is. These proposed designs come from the US EPA and have not yet been finalized. Technically they are called FEEC - Fuel Economy & Environmental Comparisons labels.

Oh, you say, I know about that sticker. It looks like this:

Well, it did look like that until 2008. It looks like this now:

As the world has gotten more complex, we no longer worry just about various miles per gallon ratings (city, highway and combined) but we think about many other factors as well. (NUMBERS! MATH!)

Design One concentrates on a GRADE LETTER. Many people object to this label's large letter due to "the negative vibes people still have from being graded in school."  If you have bad vibes from school, look the other way. (Click the image for a larger version)

No one is saying you have to leave this sticker on the car after you bought it, but I'm sure people would intentionally leave the label on as a badge of pride or shame. Car dealers are protesting this label because they think a vehicle labeled D would not sell well.


Notice Design Two below. Yawn. Boring. Same old thing.
The new information on these labels is indicated by the green letters A-E. If the information is shown on a scale, a worse result is shown to the left; a better result to the right.
  • A shows gallons consumed per 100 miles, which mirrors the way the rest of the world measures fuel consumption, although they use liters per 100 km
  • B provides a scale showing how this car compares to all cars and cars in its market segment, just like an energy consumption label on a refrigerator.
  • C shows grams of greenhouse gases emitted per mile traveled (what are these gases and how is that value calculated?) This is new to Americans and means nothing to us. In the UK buyers are taxed on this value, so it's a meaningful reason to select a certain vehicle
  • D is another indicator of pollutants (what are these gases and how is that value calculated?).
  • E is the quantity of electrical power equal to the energy in a gallon of gas (how are those values calculated?).
Each type of vehicle (plug-in electrics, pure electrics,  hybrids, natural gas, flex-fuel vehicles, gasoline vehicles, diesel vehicles, etc.) will have a different sticker depending on its energy source.

Maybe some new jobs will appear for label-number-cruncher at the car brand of your choice!  We'll investigate some of these numbers tomorrow, using elementary math skills. (NUMBERS! MATH!)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Type your comment here