By Denna Bowman
In three years all new tyres on sale in Europe will be classified and labelled for fuel efficiency, wet grip and noise performance.
The new legislation was approved by the EP Industry Committee and Council negotiators yesterday and will lead to a labelling system similar to that used for household appliances.
Rapporteur Ivo Belet (EPP, BE) said: “The new labelling system is a straightforward measure with great advantages for the environment and the consumers.”
He also stressed that the cost to tyres manufacturers should be minimal.
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, it will also give information about its performance in wet conditions and its external rolling noise in decibels.
From 1 November 2012, suppliers of tyres for passenger cars, light and heavy duty vehicles (C1, C2 and C3 tyres) will have to inform consumers about fuel efficiency, wet grip and noise classes in any technical promotional material, including web sites.
All C1 and C2 tyres produced after 1 July 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, tyres 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 tyres, 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 tyres for cars (producing noise below 68 decibels), for example, will be labelled with one white and two black “waves” next to the value in decibels.
Potential incentives to promote better-performing tyres to consumers would be decided at national level. In principle, Member States would be allowed to provide incentives only for tyres ranked at least “class C” on fuel efficiency and wet grip.
The Commission undertook to put explanations of each tyre label component and a fuel savings calculator on its website by June 2012.
The compromise text agreed yesterday still has to be formally approved by the Council before the full House gives its final endorsement.