By Alex Kapadia
Proposed new EU rules on tyres that automatically sound an alarm when they need changing, have been criticised by an environmental lobby group.
The car Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TRMS) will send a signal to the car’s dashboard if the pressure in the tyres falls below the correct level.
However, the Environmental Transport Association (ETA) fears the proposed law has been watered down after pressure from car makers to install a less effective system.
Instead of all new cars being fitted with a system that works in real time and detects a pressure problem immediately, the cheaper “indirect” system, which takes up to an hour of driving to take a reading, is being favoured by the EU politicians.
However, since the average car journey time in Europe is only 20 minutes this will reduce the effectiveness of the system, according to the ETA.
A spokesperson the lobby group, which is pushing for direct tyre monitoring systems to be fitted as standard, said: “Tyre pressure monitoring devices are good for drivers and good for the planet, but it looks likely that a cost-cutting exercise will see car makers fitting an inferior system.”
Correctly inflated tyres last longer, provide better road handling and improve fuel efficiency by around 2 per cent.
Whilst the saving in fuel costs each month for the average driver is modest, it is estimated that underinflated tyres lead to an additional 12 megatonnes of CO2 emissions every year.
Direct systems respond much more quickly than indirect systems, give more accurate readings, but at £22 per vehicle cost three times more than the indirect systems. However, over the life of the car they save on average £350 of fuel.