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European Parliament passes tire labeling legislation

From November 2012 all new tires on sale in Europe will be classified and labeled for fuel efficiency, wet grip and noise performance. The labeling will be similar to that required for household appliances and potential buyers will be able to compare tire characteristics before making a purchase. The European Parliament approved the draft regulation without a vote. MEPs and Council Presidency negotiators agreed the deal in early October, when Ivo Belet (EPP, BE) praised the benefits of the legislation. He said then, “the new labeling system was a straightforward measure with great advantages for the environment and consumers”, adding that the cost to manufacturers should be minimal.

The tire label will use classes ranging from best-performance, green ‘A’ class to worst red ‘G’ class. Besides indicating how much the tire affects the car’s fuel efficiency, it will also give information about its performance in wet conditions and its external rolling noise in decibels. From November 1, 2012, suppliers of tires for passenger cars, light and heavy duty vehicles, C1, C2 and C3 tires, will have to inform consumers about fuel efficiency, wet grip and noise classes in any technical promotional material, including websites. Re-tread tires, off-road professional tires and racing tires will be exempt from this requirement. All C1 and C2 tires produced after July 1, 2012 must either have a sticker or be accompanied by the label when distributed from the factory to a shop or a garage. Unlike household appliances, tires are not always on display in the shops, so MEPs insisted that retailers be obliged to show the label to the buyer before the sale and also on, or with, bills.

To promote very quiet tires, the Parliament negotiated a re-design of the noise pictogram. The level of external rolling noise will be indicated by ascending numbers of black ‘waves’ emitted from the ‘speaker’. Quiet tires for cars, those producing noise below 68 decibels for example, will be labeled with one black and two white ‘waves’ next to the value in decibels. Potential incentives to promote better-performing tires to consumers would be decided at national level. In principle, Member States would be allowed to provide incentives only for tires ranked at least class C on fuel efficiency and wet grip. “This is a typical win-win situation where consumers and fleet managers will be able to choose safer and low-noise tires and save on their fuel bills, while the European Union as a whole will benefit from reduced road transport emissions,” says Energy Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs.

 

November 27, 2009

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