Parliament rubberstamps law on tyre labelling

The European Parliament yesterday (25 November) gave its final blessing to a new EU regulation that will introduce fuel efficiency labels for all new tyres from November 2012.

The new label will follow the ‘A to G’ classification system of the European energy label, so the best-performing tyres will be awarded an ‘A’. In addition to its impact on fuel use, the label will provide information about the product’s performance in wet conditions and rolling noise in decibels.

In order to promote higher-performance tyres, member states will no longer be allowed to provide incentives for tyres below class ‘C’ on fuel efficiency and wet grip.

MEPs approved the political agreement reached early last month with member states in the EU Council of Ministers without a vote (EURACTIV 02/10/09).

Under the final compromise, manufacturers will either have to stick the label on each tyre or provide a paper version that should be shown to the end user before purchase. This was considered an improvement to some of the earlier drafts, which only spoke about the label “accompanying” the tyre.

“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,” said Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.

The European Commission hopes that raising the awareness of consumers on the impact that tyres have on their fuel bills will promote the use of fuel-efficient models. Efficient technology available today allows drivers to cut down on their fuel bills by as much as 10%, which would also cut CO2 emissions from transport, it said.

But environmentalists stressed that the benefits will only materialise if they actually see the label and it is explained properly. 

“A labelling scheme only works when the worst as well as the best products can be compared. Much will now depend on how member states implement the legislation and how wholesalers and retailers respond to it,” said Nina Renshaw of Transport & Energy (T&E), an NGO.

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