• New tyre rules will save fuel but fail on noise

    An informal political agreement has been reached on Europe's first energy efficiency and noise standards for car and lorry tyres.

    [mailchimp_signup][/mailchimp_signup]The deal hammered out last week between representatives of the European Parliament, Commission and Member States will lead to an improvement in the ‘rolling resistance’ or energy efficiency of new tyres of around 20% by 2016. That translates to 3% lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions for the average car or truck.

    Nina Renshaw, Policy Officer at T&E said: “We welcome this long-overdue change. It will result in modestly lower fuel costs and CO2 emissions. But this is no revolution; over half of tyres currently on the market already meet the second stage standards for 2016. More could and should have been done to drive further innovation.”

    The legislation also sets noise standards for tyres but these will make little difference to traffic noise overall. Although car tyres will have to be significantly quieter, lorry tyres will be largely unaffected so people living alongside motorways will not notice the difference. Around 90% of lorry tyres currently on the market already meet the new standards.

    Renshaw said: “210 million Europeans currently suffer from road noise levels that the World Health Organisation says is damaging to health. This was a prime opportunity to start tackling the problem but by tackling cars and not trucks the EU has failed to protect the public.”

    The ‘Type approval requirements for the general safety of motor vehicles’ law also mandates the compulsory addition of tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) to new cars from 2012.

    These systems serve two purposes: a safety element, to warn the driver of a dangerously deflated tyre, and also to indicate when reduced pressure in a tyre is having an impact on fuel efficiency. Half of cars on the road today drive with under-inflated tyres according to the European Commission.

    Gear-shift indicators, gadgets that advise the driver what gear he/she should be in, to optimise fuel efficiency, will also become mandatory for new cars.

    The law also mandates a number of safety requirements including electronic stability control for cars and lane-departure warning systems for trucks.

    The regulation will be formally agreed by the European Parliament and representatives of Member States later this year.