SEMA eNews Vol. 15, No. 5, February 2, 2012

Feds Seek Public Comment on Tire Fuel Efficiency Consumer Information Program

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is holding a public workshop February 3, 2012, in San Francisco to gather additional information on how to implement a tire fuel efficiency consumer information program. The program is required under a 2007 law. In 2010, the NHTSA established the test procedures to be used by tire manufacturers when rating the fuel economy, safety and durability characteristics of replacement tires. However, the agency is still debating how to convey the information to consumers at the point of sale and online. The NHTSA is specifically interested in whether to base the fuel efficiency rating on the rolling resistance coefficient or the rolling resistance force. The NHTSA is also interested in reviewing the experiences other countries have had in pursuing similar programs.

The premise for the program is to allow consumers to compare ratings for different replacement tires and determine the effect of tire choices on fuel economy or the potential tradeoffs between tire fuel efficiency (rolling resistance), safety (wet traction) and durability (treadwear life). The consumer information may be conveyed in the form of a 1–5-star rating system or some similar approach, and included on a label affixed to each tire. The 2007 law included a SEMA provision exempting tires that have been produced or imported in annual units of less than 15,000, and do not exceed 35,000 tires in total brand name production. 

Questions: contact Stuart Gosswein at stuartg@sema.org.

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