• Effectiveness of EU tyre label scheme will depend on retailers

    The European Parliament has approved a new energy efficiency, safety and noise labelling scheme for new tyres. Transport & Environment says the label is a step forward but much will now depend on national authorities being strict on implementing the scheme.

    [mailchimp_signup][/mailchimp_signup]With energy labels having boosted European sales of energy-efficient fridges, freezers and washing machines, T&E pushed for stickers giving information on a tyre’s fuel consumption, road grip in wet weather and noise to be made obligatory on all tyres. But under the compromise agreed between MEPs, the Commission and officials of member states in October, supplying a label will be obligatory but manufacturers will have the option either to stick them to the tyres or provide a paper version instead.

    The second option states that labels should be ‘shown to the end user and…clearly displayed in the immediate proximity of the tyre’. That is stricter than it might have been – an earlier draft said the information only had to ‘accompany’ the tyre, but that was unenforceable (1). Tyre distributors will also have to include the information from the label on or with receipts given to customers.

    Much will now depend on what happens in tyre shops and garages and how much national governments insist on the labels being accessible. Experience with the obligation on car dealers to display fuel efficiency information suggests the information is often placed in hard-to-find areas, or in places where some customers never go.

    Nina Renshaw of T&E said: “This label has the potential to bring major benefits. People can save money, improve their safety, reduce noise and help the environment, but only 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” added Renshaw, “much will now depend on how member states implement the legislation and how wholesalers and retailers respond to it.”

    The Commission has also agreed to launch a website including a ‘fuel savings calculator’ by 2012. But it is unclear how widely this will be publicised.

    The new legislation applies to all new road vehicle tyres including cars, vans and lorries.

    (1) See T&E press release on earlier compromise text: www.transportenvironment.org/News/2009/9/EU-punctures-tyre-efficiency-label-plan/