[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 118 (Tuesday, June 19, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 36423-36428]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-14828]


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FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION

16 CFR Part 309


Labeling Requirements for Alternative Fuels and Alternative 
Fueled Vehicles

AGENCY: Federal Trade Commission (FTC or Commission).

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking; request for public comments.

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SUMMARY: The Commission seeks public comment on two amendments to its 
``Labeling Requirements for Alternative Fuels and Alternative Fueled 
Vehicles'' (``Alternative Fuels Rule'' or ``Rule''). Specifically, the 
proposed amendments consolidate the FTC's alternative fueled vehicle 
(AFV) labels with new fuel economy labels required by the Environmental 
Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration (NHTSA) and eliminate FTC requirements for used AFV 
labels.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before August 17, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Interested parties are invited to submit written comments 
electronically or in paper form by following the instructions in 
section V of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below. Comments in 
electronic form should be submitted using the following weblink https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/atlfuelslabelingnprm (and following the 
instructions on the web-based form). Comments filed in paper form 
should be mailed or delivered to the following address: Federal Trade 
Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-113 (Annex N), 600 
Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20580, in the manner detailed 
in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Hampton Newsome, (202) 326-2889, 
Attorney, Division of Enforcement, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 
Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 
20580.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background

    The Energy Policy Act of 1992 (``EPAct 92'' or ``Act'') \1\ 
established federal programs that encourage the development of 
alternative fuels and alternative fueled vehicles (AFVs). Section 
406(a) of the Act directed the Commission to establish uniform labeling 
requirements for alternative fuels and AFVs. Under the Act, such labels 
must provide ``appropriate information with respect to costs and 
benefits [of alternative fuels and AFVs], so as to reasonably enable 
the consumer to make choices and comparisons.'' In addition, the 
required labels must be ``simple and, where appropriate, consolidated 
with other labels providing information to the consumer.'' \2\
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    \1\ Public Law 102-486, 106 Stat. 2776 (1992).
    \2\ 42 U.S.C. 13232(a).
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    In response to EPAct 92, the Commission published the Alternative 
Fuels Rule in 1995.\3\ The Rule requires labels on new and used AFVs 
that run on liquid and non-liquid fuels, such as ethanol and other 
alcohols including E85 ethanol-gasoline mixtures, natural gas, 
liquefied petroleum gas, hydrogen, coal-derived liquid fuels, fuels 
derived from biological materials (e.g., 100% biodiesel), and 
electricity. The labels for new AFVs disclose the vehicle's estimated 
cruising range (i.e., the travel distance on a single charge or tank of 
fuel), general factors consumers should consider before buying an AFV, 
and toll free telephone numbers and Web sites for additional 
information from the Department of Energy (DOE) and NHTSA.\4\ Labels 
for used AFVs contain

[[Page 36424]]

only the general buying factors and DOE/NHTSA contact information.\5\
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    \3\ 60 FR 26926 (May 19, 1995).
    \4\ The Rule requires manufacturers to have a reasonable basis 
for the vehicle cruising range, and, for certain AFVs, specifies the 
test method for calculating that range. 16 CFR 309.22.
    \5\ The general factors listed on the current label include fuel 
type, operating costs, fuel availability, performance, convenience, 
energy security, energy renewability, and emissions. See 16 CFR part 
309, Appendix A.
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    The Rule also requires labels on fuel dispensers for non-liquid 
alternative fuels, such as electricity, compressed natural gas, and 
hydrogen.\6\ The labels for electricity provide the dispensing system's 
kilowatt capacity, voltage, and other related information. The labels 
for other non-liquid fuels disclose the fuel's commonly used name and 
principal component (expressed as a percentage).\7\
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    \6\ The Commission's Fuel Labeling Rule, 16 CFR Part 306, 
addresses labeling for liquid alternative fuels, such as ethanol and 
liquefied natural gas.
    \7\ The Rule requires fuel importers, producers, and 
distributors to have a reasonable basis for the information 
disclosed on the label, maintain records, and provide certifications 
when transferring fuel. 16 CFR 309.11-14.
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II. Regulatory Review

    In a June 1, 2011, Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR),\8\ 
the Commission initiated its regulatory review of the Rule to ensure 
that FTC-required vehicle labels and EPA fuel economy labeling 
requirements are consistent.\9\ In doing so, the Commission sought 
comment about the Rule's costs, benefits, and regulatory impact. In 
addition, the Commission raised three specific issues for comment: (1) 
The consolidation of the FTC label with EPA's fuel economy label; (2) 
the inclusion of new definitions for AFVs contained in recent 
legislation; and (3) the retention of labeling requirements for used 
AFVs.
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    \8\ 76 FR 31513.
    \9\ At the same time, the Commission also announced postponement 
of amendments to its ``Guide Concerning Fuel Economy Advertising for 
New Automobiles'' (``Fuel Economy Guide'') (16 CFR Part 259) pending 
completion of EPA's fuel economy labeling requirements and the 
Commission's review of the Alternative Fuels Rule. 76 FR 31467 (June 
1, 2011). Once the Commission completes the Alternative Fuels Rule 
review, it will decide how to proceed with amendments to the Fuel 
Economy Guide.
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    The Commission received nine comments.\10\ Seven urged the 
Commission to consolidate its AFV labeling requirements with EPA's fuel 
economy labels (including those for newly defined AFVs).\11\ No 
comments opposed consolidation. In addition, three comments supported 
elimination of FTC labels for used AFVs while one supported their 
continuation.\12\ Two comments also recommended that the Commission 
retain existing FTC requirements for labeling non-liquid alternative 
fuels.\13\
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    \10\ The comments are available at http://www.ftc.gov/os/comments/alternativefuelsanpr/index.shtm. The comments include the 
Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Alliance) ( 00008), 
Association of Global Automakers (Global Automakers) ( 
00006), Clean Energy Fuels ( 00010), Denney ( 
00003), Edison Electric Institute (EEI) ( 00005), General 
Motors Company (GM) ( 00012), Gibbs ( 00004), 
Growth Energy ( 00007), and National Automobile Dealers 
Association (NADA) ( 00011).
    \11\ See the Alliance, Global Automakers, Denney, EEI, GM, 
Growth Energy, and NADA.
    \12\ The Alliance, NADA, and GM (supported elimination); and EEI 
(supported continuation).
    \13\ NADA and EEI.
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    In response, the Commission proposes to consolidate FTC labels with 
EPA fuel economy labels for all AFVs, including those identified in 
recent legislation, and eliminate FTC labeling requirements for used 
AFVs. However, the Commission does not propose changes to existing 
alternative fuel rating requirements. For each of these issues, the 
following sections provide background on alternative fuel requirements, 
discuss the comments received, and explain the proposed amendments.

A. EPA and NHTSA Fuel Economy Labels

    Background: The Commission requested comment on whether it should 
consolidate its AFV labels with fuel economy labels recently issued by 
EPA to provide a uniform label for consumers.\14\ The new EPA labels 
apply to both conventional vehicles and AFVs, including AFVs subject to 
the FTC's labeling requirements.\15\ The EPA label differs depending on 
the type of AFV. For electric and compressed natural gas vehicles, the 
labels disclose information about fuel economy, greenhouse gases (and 
other emissions), cruising (driving) range, and estimated annual fuel 
cost. For ethanol-fueled vehicles, including flexible fuel vehicles 
(FFVs) (i.e., dual fueled vehicles) that operate on a combination of 
gasoline and ethanol, the labels disclose the fuel economy, fuel cost, 
and emissions based on gasoline operation and allow, but do not 
require, a driving range for gasoline or alternative fuel operation. 
All the EPA labels reference www.fueleconomy.gov, which provides 
comprehensive consumer information about fuel economy and alternative 
fuels. Given this content, the ANPR requested comment on whether the 
EPA label accomplishes the EPAct 92's goal of providing ``appropriate 
information with respect to costs and benefits [of alternative fuels 
and AFVs], so as to reasonably enable the consumer to make choices and 
comparisons.'' \16\
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    \14\ See 76 FR 39478 (July 6, 2011).
    \15\ See EPA sample label at http://www.epa.gov/otaq/carlabel/fealllabels.pdf. Although EPA regulations (40 CFR Part 600) require 
labeling for all vehicles covered under the Alternative Fuels Rule, 
EPA did not propose a specific label for several vehicle types not 
generally available to individual consumers such as those fueled by 
liquefied petroleum gas, coal-derived liquid fuels, or fuels (other 
than alcohol) derived from biological materials. See 76 FR 39478. 
However, EPA has authority to require labels for such vehicles.
    \16\ 42 U.S.C. 13232(a).
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    The ANPR also sought comment on whether to allow the use of the EPA 
label, in lieu of the FTC label, on three categories of vehicles 
(hydrogen fuel cell, advanced lean burn, and hybrid motor vehicles) 
that were added to the definition of ``alternative fuel vehicle'' by 
the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008.\17\ The 
Commission noted that, because these vehicles are already covered under 
existing labeling programs, additional labeling requirements appear 
unnecessary.\18\
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    \17\ 42 U.S.C. 13211(3)(B). According to the legislative 
history, the purpose of these amendments is to ``allow additional 
types of vehicles to be used to meet minimum'' requirements for 
vehicle and fuel use by Federal agencies (i.e., ``Federal fleet 
requirements''). 153 CONG. REC. 147 (2007).
    \18\ 76 FR at 31516.
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    Comments: Seven comments supported consolidating the FTC and new 
fuel economy labels explaining that a single label would reduce 
consumer confusion and industry burden.\19\ No comments opposed such a 
change.\20\ These comments noted that the EPA fuel economy labels offer 
as much or more information than the FTC labels with one exception. 
Finally, they noted that EPA labels cover the three vehicle types added 
by recent legislation.
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    \19\  See, e.g., the Alliance, EEI, Denney, GM, Global 
Automakers, Growth Energy, and NADA.
    \20\ Clean Energy Fuels offered suggestions for new label 
content, including ``fuel displacement'' of foreign oil, a full life 
cycle assessment of greenhouse gas emissions and both fossil-based 
and biological-based natural gas values for natural gas vehicles. 
However, the comment did not specify how such information should be 
derived or whether consumers would understand such information. 
Given the Commission's proposal to eliminate the FTC label, such 
suggestions are best directed to EPA for consideration in future 
development of their fuel economy label.
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    Commenters explained that the FTC labeling requirements duplicate 
the new fuel economy labels mandated by the EPA and NHTSA, create 
potential confusion, and provide little, if any, benefit for 
consumers.\21\ For instance, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers 
(Alliance) argued such duplication creates potential consumer confusion 
by presenting the same or similar information on differently formatted 
labels and imposes costs on manufacturers with no significant consumer 
benefit. General Motors (GM) also explained that the overlapping

[[Page 36425]]

labels have led to inconsistencies between the driving range numbers on 
FTC and EPA labels.\22\ The Alliance and the Association of Global 
Automakers (Global Automakers) noted that, over the past several years, 
industry members have urged state and federal agencies to develop a 
single national vehicle label.\23\ No commenters disagreed with these 
views.
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    \21\  See, e.g., the Alliance, EEI, Denney, GM, Global 
Automakers, Growth Energy, and NADA.
    \22\ See GM. For example, consolidation would eliminate current 
inconsistencies between cruising range values on FTC and EPA 
electric vehicle labels. To address electric vehicles introduced 
pending completion of this rulemaking, the Commission issued a 
policy stating that it will not enforce current FTC labeling 
requirements for any electric vehicle bearing an EPA-mandated fuel 
economy label and will encourage vehicle manufacturers to use the 
EPA label in lieu of the FTC label. See FTC enforcement policy on 
driving range numbers for electric vehicles at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2011/05/afr.shtm.
    \23\ Working toward that goal, EPA has coordinated with 
California to incorporate the state's labeling information into the 
national fuel economy label. See the Alliance and Global Automakers. 
Global Automakers urged the Commission to work with EPA and NHTSA to 
resolve any deficiencies the Commission finds with the fuel economy 
label.
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    Five comments suggested that elimination of the FTC labels would 
not harm consumers because the EPA fuel economy labels provide more 
vehicle-specific information than the FTC label.\24\ Specifically, 
Global Automakers explained the EPA labeling program provides 
comprehensive fuel economy information by requiring labels that 
disclose the most important vehicle information and offers a Web site, 
www.fueleconomy.gov, with more detailed information, including data on 
older vehicles.\25\ According to the Alliance, the new EPA fuel economy 
label, like the current FTC label, requires driving range information 
for most AFVs, including electric vehicles (EVs), plug-in hybrid 
electric vehicles (PHEVs), hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs), and 
compressed natural gas (CNG-fueled) vehicles. At the same time, the EPA 
label provides additional information not found on the FTC label 
including fuel costs, smog ratings, and greenhouse gas information.\26\ 
Two comments, GM and the Alliance, noted that, unlike the FTC label for 
FFVs, the EPA rules do not require driving range information but 
instead provide manufacturers the option to include the range for 
gasoline and alternative fuel (e.g., E85) operation. The Alliance 
recommended that the FTC provide the same flexibility. No comments 
identified harm to consumers from consolidation.
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    \24\ Global Automakers, the Alliance, Growth Energy, NADA, and 
GM.
    \25\ According to the Alliance, many consumers conduct Internet 
research to make basic vehicle purchasing decisions before ever 
visiting a dealership. See also, Global Automakers, Denney, and 
NADA.
    \26\ See Growth Energy and NADA.
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    Finally, three comments recommended that the FTC allow 
manufacturers to use the EPA fuel economy label for vehicle categories 
added to the definition of AFV by recent legislation (i.e., lean burn, 
hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles). No comments opposed this approach. 
Edison Electric Institute (EEI) argued that the federal requirements 
should be the same for all types of vehicles to minimize industry costs 
and ensure consumers can make ``apples to apples'' vehicle comparisons. 
The Alliance agreed, noting that EPA labeling rules already cover these 
vehicles. GM also explained that FTC labels for these vehicles would 
not provide any significant additional consumer benefit and could 
increase the opportunity for errors.
    Discussion: Consistent with the comments, the Commission proposes 
to require manufacturers to use EPA's fuel economy label for 
alternative fuel vehicles, including the vehicle categories added by 
recent legislation, in lieu of existing FTC requirements.\27\ The 
Commission agrees with commenters that consolidating the FTC and EPA 
labels will benefit consumers and industry by eliminating potential 
confusion caused by overlapping or inconsistent labels, and by reducing 
the burden on manufacturers to create and post two labels.\28\ 
Generally, the EPA labels are likely to be more helpful to consumers in 
making choices and comparisons because they contain more vehicle-
specific information than the current FTC labels. The fuel economy 
labels also link consumers to www.fueleconomy.gov, which provides 
comprehensive comparative information for conventional vehicles and 
AFVs.\29\
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    \27\ The proposed amendments add the statutory definitions for 
lean burn, hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles to the Rule.
    \28\ In addition to concerns about electric vehicle labels 
discussed above, the EPA and FTC labels disclose driving range for 
E85 dual-fueled vehicles in different ways. The FTC label requires a 
lower range number based on city fuel economy and an upper range 
number based on highway fuel economy (e.g., 246-378 on one tank). 
Conversely, the EPA label presents a single number (e.g., 300 miles 
on one tank) based on the vehicle's combined city-highway fuel 
economy. 40 CFR 600.311-12(j)(1). Although the resulting numbers are 
similar and based on the same test procedures, the differences in 
presentation have the potential to confuse consumers.
    \29\ The proposed amendments are consistent with the EPAct 92, 
which gives the Commission discretion to consolidate its 
requirements ``with other labels providing information to the 
consumer.'' 42 U.S.C. 13232(a). In addition, the Energy and Policy 
Conservation Act, 42 U.S.C. 32908(e)(2), authorizes the FTC to 
enforce the EPA automobile label requirements issued pursuant to 49 
U.S.C. 32908(b).
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    Unlike the FTC labels, the EPA labels for FFVs allow, but do not 
require, driving range disclosures. In support of making driving range 
disclosures optional, EPA has indicated that nearly all FFV owners 
(99%) use only regular gasoline, limiting the practical value of 
driving range disclosures.\30\ EPA's conventional gasoline label does 
not disclose driving range. Also, the inclusion of driving range on the 
FFV label alters the location of the ``gallons per 100 miles'' 
disclosure.\31\ Other factors, however, may support a mandatory driving 
range disclosure for these vehicles. First, the difference between 
driving range performance for alternative fuel and conventional 
gasoline operation can be significant.\32\ Second, the use of 
alternative fuels may increase in the future. Therefore, to ensure the 
label provides vehicle buyers with comparative driving range 
performance for both alternative fuel and conventional gasoline, the 
Commission proposes to require use of the EPA FFV label that contains 
the vehicle's alternative fuel and gasoline driving range. This 
proposal would effectively eliminate use of the EPA FFV label that does 
not disclose driving range.
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    \30\ 76 FR at 39485.
    \31\ See EPA sample labels at http://www.epa.gov/otaq/carlabel/fealllabels.pdf.
    \32\ For example, EPA's sample fuel economy label FFV's displays 
a 390 mile driving range for gasoline and a 270 mile range for E85 
operation. See 76 FR at 39584 (Figure 5).
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    The Commission seeks comment on all aspects of this proposal. In 
particular, comments should indicate whether driving range information 
on FFV labels is necessary given the few consumers that appear to use 
alternative fuel in such vehicles. Comments should also address whether 
the elimination of FFV label that does not disclose driving range would 
have any negative impacts on consumers' efforts to compare vehicles. 
The Commission also seeks comment on whether there are any types of 
AFVs on the market that are not covered by the EPA label, and, if so, 
whether the Commission should retain its current labeling requirements 
for such vehicles.

B. Labels for Used AFVs

    Background: In the ANPR, the Commission sought comment on whether 
to change the Rule's labeling requirements for used AFVs.\33\ Under

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the current Rule, used AFV dealers must post labels with general tips 
and references to government telephone numbers and Web sites that 
provide additional information.\34\ However, these labels do not 
contain vehicle-specific information, such as cruising range. Because 
these labels provide limited information and are likely to impose 
increasing burdens on used car dealers as the AFV market expands, the 
Commission asked whether it should retain the requirement and, if so, 
whether to change the label's content.
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    \33\ 16 CFR 309.21. The Act contains no specific requirement for 
used AFV labels nor does it specifically exclude used vehicles from 
its coverage. See 42 U.S.C. 13211 and 13232(a). In promulgating the 
original Rule in 1995, the Commission determined that used AFV 
labeling was ``appropriate'' because Aconsumers would likely have 
the same need for information, and would consider the same factors, 
whether they were contemplating a new or used ``FV acquisition.'' 60 
FR at 26941.
    \34\ The Commission's Used Car Rule (16 CFR Part 455) also 
requires used car dealers to affix on the vehicle the FTC's Buyers 
Guide, which contains warranty information about the vehicle. See 16 
CFR part 455.
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    Comments: Three comments urged the Commission to eliminate the FTC 
labeling requirement for used vehicles, while two suggested alternative 
approaches to the existing label. The Alliance, the National Automobile 
Dealers Association (NADA), and GM recommended elimination because the 
used vehicle label does not provide consumers with significant benefit 
and places unnecessary burden on used automobile dealers. NADA also 
argued that the rule, which does not apply to private used vehicle 
sellers, poses unfair burdens on dealers who account for only about 
half of all used vehicle transactions. In lieu of the current label 
which only provides general tips, these three comments suggested that 
consumers use www.fueleconomy.gov to locate specific vehicle 
information.
    Although NADA recommended elimination of the used label altogether, 
it also suggested alternatively that the Commission insert an AFV 
disclosure into the FTC's current used vehicle Buyers Guide (16 CFR 
Part 455). NADA suggested that the FTC used vehicle Buyers Guide could 
state: ``For more information on the fuel economy and fuel type for 
this vehicle, consult www.fueleconomy.gov.'' \35\ In addition, EEI, the 
only comment that supported keeping the used vehicle label, urged the 
Commission to simplify the requirements by only requiring a link to the 
www.fueleconomy.gov Web site on the existing label.
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    \35\ Use of the FTC's used vehicle Buyers Guide would be 
consistent with Congress' directive to ``consolidate'' the AFV 
information with other labels where appropriate. 42 U.S.C. 13232(a).
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    Discussion: The Commission proposes to eliminate the requirement 
for a separate AFV label for used vehicles. Unlike in 1995, when the 
Commission originally issued its Alternative Fuels Rule, consumers can 
now access detailed used AFV information online at www.fueleconomy.gov, 
including vehicle-specific fuel economy, energy consumption, and 
environmental impact data. Given the extensive information at 
www.fueleconomy.gov, the benefits of a separate used vehicle label that 
contains only generic tips for consumers seem small compared to the 
costs of posting such labels. Accordingly, the used label does not 
appear necessary to ``reasonably enable the consumer to make choices 
and comparisons'' as contemplated by the statute.\36\ The Commission 
seeks comment on this proposal, including whether the Commission should 
consider including a link to www.fueleconomy.gov on the FTC's used 
vehicle Buyers Guide.
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    \36\ 42 U.S.C. 13232(a).
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C. Alternative Fuel Labeling

    The Commission proposes no change to non-liquid alternative fuel 
requirements because two comments indicated that existing alternative 
fuel labeling helps consumers and no comment proposed changes.\37\ EEI, 
for example, urged the Commission to retain existing requirements 
because fuel dispenser labels help ensure consumers choose fuels that 
match the needs of their vehicle's energy system.\38\
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    \37\ NADA and EEI. No comments opposed existing requirements. 
NADA suggested that the Commission consider transferring the 
alternative fuel provisions from 16 CFR Part 309 to Part 306 (i.e., 
the Fuel Rating Rule) to create a single rule governing motor 
vehicle fuel ratings and simplify compliance for the regulated 
community. Given that the Commission recently completed a review of 
Part 306, the Commission is not implementing NADA's suggestion at 
this time. In addition, aside from NADA's comment, the Commission 
has no evidence that the location of Part 309 has caused significant 
confusion for industry members. In the future, the Commission may 
consider consolidating the fuel information from Part 309 into Part 
306.
    \38\ Another comment (Gibbs) listed various benefits provided by 
alternative fuels but did not specifically address the FTC's 
labeling requirements.
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III. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The current Rule contains recordkeeping, disclosure, testing, and 
reporting requirements that constitute ``information collection 
requirements'' as defined by 5 CFR 1320.3(c) under the OMB regulations 
that implement the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA).\39\ OMB has approved 
the Rule's existing information collection requirements through April 
30, 2013 (OMB Control No. 3084-0094). The proposed amendments would 
reduce the burdens associated with the Rule by eliminating FTC labeling 
requirements for vehicles subject to EPA's fuel economy labeling 
requirements.
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    \39\ 44 U.S.C. 3501-3521.
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    In past PRA analyses, FTC staff has estimated the Rule applies to 
1,121,153 alternative fuel vehicles, which mostly include flex-fuel 
vehicles. The staff estimated a two-minute average time to comply with 
the posting requirements for each of the approximately 1,121,153 new 
and used AFVs manufactured each year, for a total of 37,371 hours.\40\ 
The staff also estimated that the Rule's vehicle labeling requirements 
apply to an estimated 1,121,153 new and used AFVs each year at 38 cents 
(per industry sources) for each label, the annual AFV labeling cost is 
estimated to be $426,038 ($0.38 x 1,121,153). The Commission believes 
that the proposed rule would eliminate the Rule's burden for all these 
vehicles. Accordingly, FTC staff is submitting a related clearance 
request to OMB to adjust these previously submitted burden totals.
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    \40\ 75 FR 366, 367 (Jan. 5, 2010); 75 FR 12750, 12751 (Mar. 17, 
2010).
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    The Commission invites comments on: (1) Whether the proposed 
modifications to the current labeling requirements are necessary and/or 
will be practically useful; (2) the accuracy of the associated burden 
estimates; (3) how to improve the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
labels; and (4) how to minimize further the burden of the collections 
of information.
    Your responses to the points above additionally should be sent to 
OMB. If sent by U.S. mail, they should be addressed to Office of 
Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, 
Attention: Desk Officer for the Federal Trade Commission, New Executive 
Office Building, Docket Library, Room 10102, 725 17th Street NW., 
Washington, DC 20503. Comments sent to OMB by U.S. postal mail, 
however, are subject to delays due to heightened security precautions. 
Thus, comments should instead be sent by facsimile to (202) 395-5167.

IV. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), 5 U.S.C. 601-612, requires 
that the Commission provide an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis 
(IRFA) with a Proposed Rule and a Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis 
(FRFA), with the final Rule, if any, unless the Commission certifies 
that the Rule will not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities.\41\
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    \41\ 5 U.S.C. 603-605.
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    The Commission does not anticipate that the Proposed Rule will have 
a

[[Page 36427]]

significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
The Commission recognizes that some affected entities may qualify as 
small businesses under the relevant thresholds. Because the Proposed 
Rule would reduce burdens, however, the Commission does not expect that 
the economic impact of the Rule will be significant.
    Accordingly, this document serves as notice to the Small Business 
Administration of the FTC's certification of no effect. To ensure the 
accuracy of this certification, however, the Commission requests 
comment on whether the Proposed Rule will have a significant impact on 
a substantial number of small entities, including specific information 
on the number of entities that would be covered by the Proposed Rule, 
the number of these companies that are ``small entities,'' and the 
average annual burden for each entity. Although the Commission 
certifies under the RFA that the Rule proposed in this Notice would 
not, if promulgated, have a significant impact on a substantial number 
of small entities, the Commission has determined, nonetheless, that it 
is appropriate to publish an IRFA in order to inquire into the impact 
of the Proposed Rule on small entities. Therefore, the Commission has 
prepared the following analysis:

A. Description of the Reasons That Action by the Agency Is Being 
Considered

    To provide clear disclosures to consumers and reduce labeling 
burden, the Commission proposes to direct manufacturers to use EPA fuel 
economy labels in lieu of the existing FTC label.

B. Statement of the Objectives of, and Legal Basis for, the Proposed 
Rule

    Section 406(a) of EPAct 92 directed the Commission to establish 
uniform labeling requirements, to the greatest extent practicable, for 
alternative fuels and AFVs.\42\
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    \42\ 42 U.S.C. 13232(a). EPAct 92 did not specify what 
information should be displayed on these labels. Instead, it 
provided generally that the Commission's rule must require 
disclosure of ``appropriate,'' ``useful,'' and ``timely'' cost and 
benefit information on ``simple'' labels.
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C. Small Entities to Which the Proposed Rule Will Apply

    Under the Small Business Size Standards issued by the Small 
Business Administration, automobile manufacturers qualify as small 
businesses if they have fewer than 1,000 employees. The Commission 
estimates that approximately six vehicle manufacturers or commercial 
importers subject to the Proposed Rule qualify as small businesses. The 
Commission seeks comment and information with regard to the estimated 
number and nature of small business entities for which the Proposed 
Rule would have a significant economic impact.

D. Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance 
Requirements

    The Proposed Rule does not impose any additional reporting, 
recordkeeping, or compliance requirements. Rather, the Proposed Rule 
would eliminate FTC labeling requirements for certain vehicles. The 
classes of small entities affected by the Rule include fuel 
distributors, vehicle manufacturers, and fuel retailers.

E. Duplicative, Overlapping, or Conflicting Federal Rules

    The Commission has not identified any other federal statutes, 
rules, or policies that would duplicate, overlap, or conflict with the 
Proposed Rule. Indeed, the Proposed Rule would harmonize labeling 
requirements for new AFVs by consolidating the FTC's AFV labels with 
fuel economy labels required by EPA and NHTSA. The Commission invites 
comment and information on this issue.

F. Significant Alternatives to the Proposed Rule

    The Commission seeks comment and information on the need, if any, 
for alternative compliance methods that would reduce the economic 
impact of the Rule on such small entities. If the comments filed in 
response to this Notice identify small entities that would be affected 
by the Rule, as well as alternative methods of compliance that would 
reduce the economic impact of the Rule on such entities, the Commission 
will consider the feasibility of such alternatives and determine 
whether they should be incorporated into the final rule.

V. Request for Comment

    The Commission invites affected industries, consumer organizations, 
federal and state agencies, and other interested persons to submit 
written comments on any issue of fact, law, or policy that may bear 
upon the proposals under consideration. Please include explanations for 
any answers provided, as well as supporting evidence where appropriate. 
After examining the comments, the Commission will determine whether to 
issue specific amendments.
    You can file a comment online or on paper. For the Commission to 
consider your comment, we must receive it on or before August 17, 2012. 
Write ``Alternative Fuels Labeling (16 CFR Part 309) (Matter No. 
R311002)'' on your comment. Your comment--including your name and your 
state--will be placed on the public record of this proceeding, 
including, to the extent practicable, on the public Commission Web 
site, at http://www.ftc.gov/os/publiccomments.shtm. As a matter of 
discretion, the Commission tries to remove individuals' home contact 
information from comments before placing them on the Commission Web 
site.
    Because your comment will be made public, you are solely 
responsible for making sure that your comment does not include any 
sensitive personal information, such as anyone's Social Security 
number, date of birth, driver's license number or other state 
identification number or foreign country equivalent, passport number, 
financial account number, or credit or debit card number. You are also 
solely responsible for making sure that your comment does not include 
any sensitive health information, like medical records or other 
individually identifiable health information. In addition, do not 
include any ``[t]rade secret or any commercial or financial information 
which is obtained from any person and which is privileged or 
confidential * * *,'' as provided in Section 6(f) of the FTC Act, 15 
U.S.C. 46(f), and FTC Rule 4.10(a)(2), 16 CFR 4.10(a)(2). If you want 
the Commission to give your comment confidential treatment, you must 
file it in paper form, with a request for confidential treatment, and 
you have to follow the procedure explained in FTC Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 
4.9(c).\43\ Your comment will be kept confidential only if the FTC 
General Counsel, in his or her sole discretion, grants your request in 
accordance with the law and the public interest.
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    \43\ In particular, the written request for confidential 
treatment that accompanies the comment must include the factual and 
legal basis for the request, and must identify the specific portions 
of the comment to be withheld from the public record. See FTC Rule 
4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).
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    Postal mail addressed to the Commission is subject to delay due to 
heightened security screening. As a result, we encourage you to submit 
your comments online, or to send them to the Commission by courier or 
overnight service. To make sure that the Commission considers your 
online comment, you must file it at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/altfuelslabelingnprm by following the instructions on the web-based 
form. If this Notice appears at http://

[[Page 36428]]

www.regulations.gov/!home, you also may file a comment through 
that Web site.
    If you file your comment on paper, write ``Proposed Amendments to 
the Alternative Fuels Rule, (16 CFR part 309) (Matter No. R311002)'' on 
your comment and on the envelope, and mail or deliver it to the 
following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 
Room H-113 (Annex N), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 
20580. If possible, submit your paper comment to the Commission by 
courier or overnight service.
    Visit the Commission Web site at http://www.ftc.gov to read this 
Notice and the news release describing it. The FTC Act and other laws 
that the Commission administers permit the collection of public 
comments to consider and use in this proceeding as appropriate. The 
Commission will consider all timely and responsive public comments that 
it receives on or before August 17, 2012. You can find more 
information, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, in 
the Commission's privacy policy, at http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/privacy.htm.

VI. Proposed Rule

List of Subjects in 16 CFR Part 309

    Alternative fuel, Alternative fueled vehicle, Energy conservation, 
Labeling, Reporting and recordkeeping, Trade practices.

    The Commission proposes to amend 16 CFR part 309 as follows:

PART 309--LABELING REQUIREMENTS FOR ALTERNATIVE FUELS AND 
ALTERNATIVE FUELED VEHICLES

    1. The authority citation for part 309 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 42 U.S.C. 13232(a).

    2. In Sec.  309.1 add new paragraph (f)(3) to read as follows:


Sec.  309.1   Definitions.

* * * * *
    (f) * * *
    (3) Any vehicle that is--
    (i) A new qualified fuel cell motor vehicle (as defined in 26 
U.S.C. 30B(b)(3));
    (ii) A new advanced lean burn technology motor vehicle (as defined 
in 26 U.S.C. 30B(c)(3));
    (iii) A new qualified hybrid motor vehicle (as defined in 26 U.S.C. 
30B(d)(3)); or
    (iv) Any other type of vehicle that the Administrator of the 
Environmental Protection Agency demonstrates to the Secretary would 
achieve a significant reduction in petroleum consumption.
* * * * *
    3. In Sec.  309.1, remove paragraphs (dd), (ee), and (ff) and 
redesignate (gg) as (dd).
    4. Revise Sec.  309.20 to read as follows:


309.20  Labeling requirements for new covered vehicles.

    (a) Before offering a new covered vehicle for acquisition to 
consumers, manufacturers shall affix or cause to be affixed, and new 
vehicle dealers shall maintain or cause to be maintained, fuel economy 
labels as required by under 40 CFR part 600. For dual fueled vehicles, 
such labels must include driving range information for alternative fuel 
and gasoline operation and be otherwise consistent with provisions in 
40 CFR part 600.
    (b) If an aftermarket conversion system is installed on a vehicle 
by a person other than the manufacturer prior to such vehicle's being 
acquired by a consumer, the manufacturer shall provide that person with 
the vehicle's fuel economy label prepared pursuant to 40 CFR part 600 
and ensure that new fuel economy vehicle labels are affixed to such 
vehicles as required by paragraph (a) of this section.
    5. Remove Sec. Sec.  309.21 and 309.22.
    6. Redesignate Sec.  309.23 as 309.21.
    7. In Appendix A to part 309, remove figures 4, 5, 5.1, and 6.

    By direction of the Commission.
Donald S. Clark,
Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2012-14828 Filed 6-18-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6750-01-P