Soon, the EU will be in the grip of new rules requiring the provision of information on tyre labels relating to fuel efficiency, wet grip and noise performance. Jenny Reid kicks the tyres of the new regulations and their impact on manufacturers, distributors and advertisers.
Topic: Labelling and packaging
Who: European Parliament
When: 25 November 2009
Law stated as at: December 2009
After a year of negotiations the European Parliament recently adopted without a vote a proposed new EU Regulation "on the labelling of tyres with respect to fuel efficiency and other essential parameters" that had already received the strong endorsement of EU Ministers.
Virtually guaranteed to become law, the Regulation, like all EU "Regulations" has direct effect on its "in force" date throughout the EU without the need for implementing legislation at Member State level. The in force date is 1 November 2012.
The Regulation introduces a new regime of mandatory information that tyre manufacturers and distributors will need to provide on labels to tyre purchasers about their fuel efficiency, wet grip and noise performance. The information will be required in relation to tyres produced for passenger cars (category C1 tyres), vans (category C2 tyres) and heavy duty vehicles such as trucks and buses (category C3 tyres).
The labels will use fuel-efficiency ratings similar to the European energy label and will range from best (green "A" class) to worst (red "G" class) performance and will also detail the tyres' wet grip and noise performance.
New EU "tyre labelling website"
The European Parliament expects the Commission to create an "EU tyre labelling website" by September 2010, intended to be a source of reference containing information explaining each aspect of the label and the benefits of safer, fuel efficient and quieter tyres for drivers and the environment. The website will also feature a calculator on which consumers will be able to work out the potential savings of fuel, carbon dioxide and costs in relation to car, van, bus and truck tyres when upgrading to a more fuel-efficient model.
The information detailed above will be required to be attached, in label format, to category C1 and C2 tyres. However, tyre purchasers will not all have the chance to see the labels before making their purchase, and so all "technical promotional material," (defined as technical manuals, brochures, leaflets and catalogues (whether these appear in printed, electronic or online form) as well as websites, the purpose of which is to market tyres to end-users or distributors and that describe the specific technical parameters of a tyre.)" must contain the information detailed above, from November 2012, in relation to tyres manufactured after 1 July 2012.
This information should also be repeated on the sale invoice in order to give the consumer a record of the tyres' grading which they can use to make future comparisons.
The Regulation allows member states to provide incentives for the promotion of better-performing tyres to consumers (those ranked at least "class C" on fuel efficiency and wet grip) so it is likely that manufacturers and distributors will be able to benefit from this. Although involved in the consultation for the Regulation, the UK government and the Department of Transport have not yet commented on the outcome and it remains to be seen whether they will implement the incentives.
Why this matters:
The European Federation for Transport and Environment believes that substantial consumer interest can be generated by the possibility of saving fuel and that if all tyres were to fall into the fuel-efficiency band C or above, then 5% of the EU's road transport fuel bill for vans, lorries, buses and cars could be saved, which works out as an equivalent of 50Mt CO2.
For the full text of the Regulation, please go to: