The Fuel Efficiency Labelling of Passenger Cars Regulations (known as "Pkw-EnVKV"), which went into effect on 1 December 2011 (Federal Law Gazette I p. 1756), require new cars to be equipped with fuel economy labels that describe the vehicle's CO2 emissions for consumers.

In addition to describing absolute consumption, a clear and intuitive colour-coded CO2 efficiency scale compares the vehicle's CO2 efficiency to other models. CO2 efficiency is calculated using CO2 emissions and vehicle mass. The scale ranges from 'A+' (very efficient) to 'G' (rather inefficient).

The fuel economy label is designed to hold electricity consumption data as well in order to take account of the growing popularity of electric vehicles.

Extensive information on running costs

The label also details annual taxes and average annual energy costs (fuel and electricity) so consumers can consider the total cost of ownership when selecting a vehicle to buy.

Annual energy costs (fuel and electricity) are calculated using the latest fuel price list (PDF: 271 KB) (official version from 30 June 2014, only in German) published in the Federal Gazette by the Federal Ministry for Economy Affairs and Energy. A new price list is published in the Federal Gazette every 30 June.

Once the updated prices are published in the Federal Gazette, they must be applied to all new passenger cars displayed or put up for sale or lease after 30 June, subject to a three-month grace period after the publication date. More comparative data on the fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and electricity consumption of newly registered vehicles is available in the latest DAT Guide issued by Deutsche Automobil Treuhand GmbH.

In addition, the CO2 efficiency classification (PDF: 231 KB) (official version from 30 June 2014, only in German) of new vehicles was published in the Federal Gazette on 30 June 2014 (base year: 2013). The Federal Government looked into opening a new 'A++' efficiency class as required by Pkw-EnVKV. A new efficiency class must be opened if 5% of newly registered vehicles meet the requirements of the next higher 'A++' or 'A+++' classes. However, only one percent of newly registered vehicles exceeded class 'A+' standards in 2013, so the current efficiency scale will remain unchanged.

Information website on fuel efficiency labels for cars

On the website (only in German) the German Energy Agency (dena) provides extensive information for persons looking to buy a new car, car dealers and fleet operators.

The "Maintenance costs checker" enables consumers to compare the car they are interested in with A+, A, and B-class models that are particularly efficient. It provides data on the car's fuel and energy consumption, on vehicle tax, on carbon emissions over a specific period of time, and offers a cost comparison with a more environmentally friendly model.

The website enables users to answer the question "What class of car best suits my needs"? The car that the consumer is interested in is compared with a more efficient model covering the same requirements (e. g. specifications and equipment, annual mileage). The advantages and disadvantages of each model are shown, including alternative drive technologies, helping the consumers to purchase the vehicle that best suits his or her needs.

Manufacturers, dealers, and leasing companies can make use of tips and further information regarding the fuel efficiency label at (only in German).

It contains information such as:

  • Tips on filling out the fuel economy label
  • Online label completion tool
  • Sample fuel economy labels
  • FAQs on the fuel economy label

This information platform on the fuel economy label is a German Energy Agency initiative that receives funding from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.