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Tyres labelling – saving on money and CO2
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Published on 31-10-12

As of 1 November, 2012 consumers can access easy information on which tyres will help them save fuel. A new easy-to-read label, similar to the well-known energy label for household appliances, will rank tyres on a scale from G (bad) to A (best) in energy efficiency. To ensure that fuel savings won't come at the expense of safety or noise, three essential aspects are evaluated: fuel efficiency, wet grip and external rolling noise.

Tyres account for 20 to 30 % of the fuel consumption of vehicles and choosing tyres rated ‘A’ for their energy efficiency can help make fuel cost savings for the consumer in the range of £135–£185 per year compared to the least efficient tyre models. When taking into account the higher price of ‘A’ class tyres compared to ‘G’ class (£195-£260 for a set of four) consumers will start saving money in the course of the second year following their  purchase, i.e. well before the end of life of high-quality tyres.

The new label encourages energy efficiency in a sector dominated by fossil fuels and notable for its high CO2 emissions, making road transport cleaner while reducing dependency on imported oil. Informed consumers opting for better quality in tyres are likely to encourage manufacturers to optimise the three tyre parameters.

    Tyres labelling – saving on money and CO2

    Questions and Answers

    What does the label look like?

    The label is similar to energy labels already used for washing machines, dishwashers and fridges. The better the tyre (fuel savings, safety and external noise), the better the classification. Red G is the worst class; Green A is the best class.

    The three parameters:

    Fuel consumption is related to the rolling resistance. By reducing rolling resistance, the tyre consumes less petrol.

    Wet grip is one of the most important safety characteristics of a tyre. Tyres with very good wet grip have a shorter braking distance when it rains.

    The external noise generated by the tyre is expressed in waves: one black wave is the lowest noise level and three the highest.

    What is the advantage for the consumer?

    As with fridges, washing machines and other appliances, it gives the consumer a quickoverview – which tyres consume less fuel while not making any compromises with safety and external noise. It helps him easily compare and choose good tyres.

    How much can you save?

    By selecting the best tyre (A) a consumer can reduce the fuel bill by up to 9% compared to the least performing product(G) on the market. Here are three examples:

    If you drive a typical passenger car travelling 15 534 mi(25 000 km) per year (6 213 mi (10 000 km) urban, 9 321 mi(15 000 km) inter-urban), you can save fuel costs between £135–£185 per year. As the best performing tyres will be more costly (additional £195-£260), you will have net savings between £80 and £115 in the second year.

    If you drive a big passenger car (consumption of 10 lit/62mi(100km)) with high usage (6 213mi (10 000 km) urban and 15 534mi(25 000 km) highway per year), you save more fuel costs: £360 per year. As the best tyres will be more expensive, you will save between £105 and £170 in the first year.

    If you drive a van, used by companies for delivery and transport, which travels 24 854mi (40 000 km) per year (12 427mi (20 000 km) urban, 12 427mi (20 000 km) inter-urban), fuel costs of £230–£290 per year can be achieved. With additional tyres costs of £225–£290, the break-even point is already within the course of the first year.

    What does the label NOT pretend to be?

    The label is NOT a quality label covering all aspects related to the overall performance of a tyre. It cannot replace quality testing by specialised laboratories or information provided by manufacturers and others (e.g. motoring associations), which may use a wide range of criteria for quality. In that respect it is similar to the energy efficiency label for washing machines, which indicates how much electricity a washing machine typically uses per year, but does not say anything about specific extra functions a washing machine might have.

    For example, the indication M&S (mud and snow) is not part of the tyre label, as it should already be marked on the side of a tyre in accordance with an international convention. Other parameters such as behaviour in aquaplaning or handling on curves could not be included in the labelling scheme because of the lack of recognised standardised testing methods.

    How will consumers get to know the label?

    As of 1 November 2012, manufacturers and importers of tyres have the obligation to accompany all tyres produced after 1 July 2012 with stickers, labels and technical promotional material.  Distributors (e.g. tyre dealers, repair shops, car retailers) have the obligation to make this information available at the point of sale in a clearly visible position.

    For all tyres produced before 1 July 2012, there is no such obligation. This means that for a certain period of time, consumers will find both tyres with labels and others without it in shops. The reason is to give producers time to reduce their old stock and prepare for the new label system. 

    How does the labelling scheme work and who puts the labels?

    As is already the case with household appliances for over 15 years now, the EU labelling scheme for tyres is based on self-declaration by manufacturers or importers. However, Member States must apply the market surveillance provisions included in the relevant national legislation. They are obliged to survey the market, which includes compliance checks of the various provisions of the tyre labelling regulation. National authorities also have to check the conformity of the declared classes on the label of tyres (for fuel efficiency, wet grip and rolling noise) and of the measured values. Similar to other products, controls will exclusively be performed by national authorities and not by independent institutions.

    Are there minimum requirements for tyre parameters?

    Minimum requirements for tyre parameters – such as rolling resistance, wet grip and rolling noise – are determined under another EU Regulation, the one on type approval for the general safety of motor vehicles and their components. For instance, tyres corresponding to fuel efficiency class G can no longer be placed on the market as of 1 November 2014. This measure will be extended to class F tyres by 1 November 2018.

    Which tyres fall under the regulation?

    The regulation applies to almost all tyres for four-wheel vehicles (passenger cars, light commercial vehicles and passengers/goods heavy commercial vehicles). However, it does not cover re-treaded tyres, professional off-road tyres, temporary-use spare tyres, studded tyres, tyres used only for racing, tyres whose speed rating is less than 80 km/h, tyres to be fitted only on vehicles registered for the first time before 1 October 1990 and tyres whose nominal diameter is smaller than 254 mm or bigger than 635 mm.

    How does the tyre label fit into existing EU policies?

    As consumers are expected to buy more and more fuel-saving tyres, fuel consumption is to be reduced and consequently less CO2 to be produced. For the EU as a whole, it is estimated that CO2 savings from all vehicle types are expected to range from 1.5 million tonnes to 4 million tonnes per year in 2020. This is equivalent to removing 0.5 million to 1.3 million passenger cars from EU roads per year. The label is therefore part of the EU strategy for sustainable development. It will contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of road transport, and therefore reaching the goals fixed in terms of sustainable mobility.

    Who has decided to introduce the label – the European Commission?

    No. The regulation was adopted by the European Parliament and the EU Council, following a proposal by the Commission. Ahead of this, the labelling scheme was prepared in cooperation with all relevant stakeholders: national authorities, industry, environmental NGOs and consumer organisations. 

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    Last update: 06/11/2012  |Top