By Denna Bowman
New laws to improve the fuel efficiency, wet grip and noise performance of tyres look set to be passed into law by the EU this week.
The regulation, which will lead to the classification and labelling of all tyres from 1st November 2012, was unanimously backed by Industry Committee MEPS on Monday evening and is scheduled for a final plenary vote tomorrow.
Its introduction will mean that tyres will be subject to labelling similar to that required for household appliances, such as fridges and freezers.
“The new labelling system is a straightforward measure with great advantages for the environment and consumers”, said rapporteur Ivo Belet (EPP, BE) in October, adding that the cost to 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. Re-treaded tyres, off-road professional tyres and racing tyres will be exempt from this requirement.
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 black and two white “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.