• Parliament puts the brakes on energy-efficient tyres

    Under pressure from the tyre industry and the Italian government, the European Parliament's industry committee has voted to water-down proposed legislation to make car tyres quieter and more energy efficient.

    [mailchimp_signup][/mailchimp_signup]The legislation, proposed by the European Commission in May (1) sets minimum noise and ‘rolling resistance’ standards for tyres. The most noisy and inefficient tyres would have been phased out and eventually removed from sale in Europe in steps between 2014 and 2018.

    Reduced rolling resistance can make cars up to 5% more fuel efficient, which has a corresponding impact on reduced CO2 emissions. The noise standards as proposed could have cut road traffic noise by half.

    But the tyre industry lobby group, the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers’ Association (ETRMA) attacked the plans, calling for weaker targets for new tyre designs and the right to carry on selling the worst models almost indefinitely. ETRMA was backed by the Italian government who’s position ‘copy pasted’ large sections of the tyre industry’s demands. Italy is home to Pirelli, one of Europe’s largest tyre producers.

    The industry committee vote this morning, which reflected key elements of the industry position, would delay and weaken the legislation. But it is only an ‘opinion’ report, and is not binding. However a report by Andreas Schwab MEP, responsible for the (lead) internal market committee’s vote on the issue in December (2) also largely reflects demands put forward by the tyre industry.

    Nina Renshaw of T&E said: “If the legislation continues down this road, it will result in noisier, more inefficient tyres being sold in Europe for the foreseeable future. The finger of blame is pointed firmly at the tyre industry association, and their friends in the Italian government, who are attempting to ensure that a lowest-common-denominator approach wins the day.”

    “Energy inefficient, noisy tyres are bad news for consumers who miss out on fuel savings, and for the 200 million Europeans who suffer from the impact of road noise, for which tyres are primarily responsible. We urge MEPs to throw out the industry-backed proposals and focus on what’s good for all Europeans.”

    The Commission proposal for improving the energy efficiency potential of tyres was announced in May after carmakers had previously persuaded the European Commission to weaken a proposed CO2 standard for new cars from 120g CO2/km to 130g. The ten gram shortfall was supposed to be made up by other measures, including tyre standards under a policy coined by the industry, ‘the integrated approach’.

    Notes to editors:
    1. European Commission proposal: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:52008PC0316:EN:NOT
    2. Link to Schwab draft report: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/activities/committees/draftReportsCom.do?language=EN&body=IMCO