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EU Tyre Label - What is it?

Since the 1st of November 2012, the fuel efficiency, wet grip and external rolling noise performances of tyres have been displayed by means of a compulsory label similar to those already found on washing machines, fridges and other products that require consumer awareness of safety and environmental ratings. There had been a lack of reliable and comparable information on the performance of tyres which made it difficult for consumers to take these elements into account when making their purchasing decision. The intention of this new legislation is to promote a market shift towards more fuel-efficient, safer and low noise tyres while encouraging competition to run on tyre performance as well as price, stimulating investments in Research and Development in the process.

Andris Piebalgs, the EU Energy Commissioner said this of the launch of the legislation: "I'm very happy about the adoption today of the Tyre labelling regulation. This is a typical win-win situation where consumers and fleet managers will be able to choose safer and low noise tyres and save on their fuel bills while the European Union as a whole will benefit from reduced road transport emissions".

How does it work?

The EU has created the labelling system for safety and environmental issues which rates the tyres on three aspects: Rolling resistance, wet grip performance and external noise. From the beginning of November, this labelling must displayed at the point of sale and on technical promotional literature such as catalogues, leaflets and websites.

Rolling resistance (which impacts on fuel consumption):

  • There is a grade, ranging from A to G, for rolling resistance.
  • An A grade tyre has a 7.5% better fuel consumption than a G grade tyre.
  • That means that every 10,000 kilometres, 50 litres will be saved by using an A grade tyre.
  • This represents an average; depending on the road surface, journey type and driving style.

Wet grip performance:

  • The labels go from A (the shortest braking distance) to F for the longest.
  • There are no D and G grades for car and van tyres.
  • The test is braking distance of a vehicle driving on a road covered with between 0.5 and 1.5mm of water.
  • • At 80km per hour there is a difference of four car lengths (around 18 metres) between cars fitted with A grade tyres and those with F grade tyres.

External noise:

  • Beyond 50 km per hour, rolling resistance noise normally exceeds engine noise.
  • On the label there is a symbol of a tyre with three waves, some black and some merely in outline.
  • A tyre with three black waves is in compliance with current European regulation but will breech regulations to be introduced in 2016.
  • A tyre with two black waves is already in compliance with the 2016 regulations.
  • A tyre with one black wave will be at least three decibels quieter than the 2016 regulations.

How will it affect me?

Since November 2012 the Tyre Label should have been shown on every new tyre for sale in the UK which should help consumers feel more confident that their choice of tyre has been independently tested for fuel efficiency, stopping distance and noise. This better allows motorists to compare tyres more accurately and not just see a rack of seemingly identical rubber rings. If the tyres cannot be seen by customers, this information found on the label must still be supplied and in cases of car supplier if the customers can choose their tyres the label information must also be supplied before purchase.

Depending on the speed of market transformation the initiative is expected to trigger fuel savings from the increased use of fuel efficient tyres between 2.4 and 6.6 Mtoe (million tonnes of oil equivalent) in 2020. This is more than the annual oil consumption of Hungary. The CO 2 savings from all vehicle types are expected to range from 1.5 million tonnes to 4 million tonnes per year, equivalent to removing 0.5 million to 1.3 million passenger cars from EU roads per year
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