The standard format labels will be specific to individual models and will appear inside or alongside all new cars in showrooms from December 1. The initiative is the brainchild of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, which would like to see it extended across Europe as the blueprint for the European Union's plan to introduce green labels for cars. Christopher Macgowan, chief executive of the SMMT, said: 'We are all environmentally sensitive but we have to convert that to action. This is a call to action. This new label will for the first time give consumers the opportunity to check whether a car is 'clean' compared to another.'
Buyers will, however, have to visit showrooms in person to conduct these comparisons after the SMMT shied away from producing an independent standard of what constitutes a clean car, although the Society is still involved in a joint venture with the Department for the Environment Transport and the Regions to establish an Eco-rating for cars. This forces fleet managers who do not regularly visit dealerships to rely on the more comprehensive but more confusing Vehicle Certification Agency booklet 'New Fuel Consumption and Emission Figures.'