Green light for tyre labelling efficiency drive

New Europe-wide rules helping car drivers choose the most efficient and quietest tyres will come into force in three years following approval by Euro-MPs in Strasbourg.

New Europe-wide rules helping car drivers choose the most efficient and quietest tyres will come into force in three years following approval by Euro-MPs in Strasbourg.

From November 1 2012, the fuel efficiency, wet grip and external "rolling noise" levels of tyres must be displayed by manufacturers according to a grading system.

The European Commission says the move could mean fuel savings equivalent to 6.6 million tonnes of oil across Europe by 2020 - more than the annual oil consumption of a country such as Hungary.

The CO2 savings from cars and commercial vehicles combined is put at between 1.5 million tonnes and four million tonnes per year, depending on how quickly buyers respond by picking the most climate-friendly tyres available.

The most optimistic forecast for reduced emissions is about the same as removing 1.3 million cars from the road every year, say experts.

"I'm very happy about the adoption today of the Tyre labelling regulation," said EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.

"This is a typical win-win situation where consumers and fleet managers will be able to choose safer and low noise tyres and save on their fuel bills while the EU as a whole will benefit from reduced road transport emissions."

Lack of reliable and comparable information on tyre performance makes it difficult at the moment for consumers to pick the most climate-friendly options when replacing tyres.

But in three years' time, tyre "performances" will have to be displayed by tyre retailers and featured on advertising and marketing of tyres.

The result will be increased competition in the sector, stimulating investment by tyre makers in research and development.

The Commissioner said few drivers were aware of the impact of tyres on their fuel bill.

"Today's technology makes it possible to significantly reduce the tyre share in vehicle fuel consumption, allowing a driver to reduce fuel bills by up to 10 per cent between the best and the worst set of tyres available on the market."

Today's agreement is part of the EU's long-term energy efficiency plans, contributing towards the goal of reducing total EU energy consumption by 20 per cent by 2020.

The tyre labelling scheme is similar to that already familiar to consumers for household appliances.

Like the European energy label, the tyre label will use classes ranging from best-performance (green "A" class) to worst (red "G" class). Besides indicating how much the tyre affects the car's fuel efficiency, there will be information about the tyre's performance in wet conditions and its external rolling noise in decibels.

The only exemptions will be for "retread" tyres, off-road professional tyres and racing tyres.

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