Press Release

EU punctures tyre efficiency label plan

September 29, 2009

Sustainable transport campaigners and consumer groups have jointly criticised a last-minute EU deal on a new energy efficiency, safety and noise label for vehicle tyres. The latest legal text, set to be finalised on Thursday, would effectively turn the scheme into a voluntary programme, with no clear rules on how or where the labels should be displayed.

[mailchimp_signup][/mailchimp_signup]Transport & Environment and ANEC, the European consumer voice in standardisation, are calling for an obligatory tyre sticker, in line with the original European Commission proposal.

The best tyres can improve car fuel efficiency by reducing ‘rolling resistance’, the friction between the tyre and the road.

Earlier versions of the legal proposal would have resulted in compulsory stickers, similar to those seen on fridges and washing machines, being placed on car and van tyres at the point of sale. As well as energy efficiency information, the new label will also show noise and ‘wet grip’ performance.

But the deal between the European Parliament, Commission and Member States offers tyre makers a vague alternative to the sticker, saying that the label should merely be ‘shown to the end user in the immediate proximity of the tyre before the sale of the tyre’. That is unenforceable.

Vague or unspecific EU labeling regulations have failed before. Notably new car dealers, who were obliged to put up posters in their showrooms showing fuel efficiency information, often failed to do so, or placed the posters in hard-to-find areas.

The German government’s ‘Blue Angel’ environmental label for tyres also failed because it was voluntary. Only a handful of tyres in Germany have been accredited under the scheme.

Jos Dings of Transport & Environment said: “A labeling scheme only works when the worst as well as the best products show the same information, in the same way. A voluntary scheme won’t work and is a huge waste of legislators’ time. It’s not too late to put this back on track and help consumers choose the most efficient tyres which save on fuel bills and emissions.”

Stephen Russell, ANEC Secretary-General said: “If the intention is to inform the consumer about the safety, fuel efficiency and noise of the tyre before a purchasing decision, it is essential that the label is displayed on the tyre itself . We therefore urge the European Parliament and Council to make it mandatory for all tyres to bear the label at the point of sale”.

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