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You will soon have more ways to choose which tire is right for you: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed a new tire label that ranks rubber based on fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas rating, safety (wet traction), and durability. According to NHTSA's calculations, rolling resistance accounts for up to 7% of "uses and losses of fuel energy in a vehicle." With everyone paying close attention to gas mileage and gas prices now, the federal agency wants to give consumers more info on how to maximize a car's performance in that respect.

There are a variety of labels NHTSA has come up with to display a tire's ratings. When the final rule is implemented, the removable label will be located on the tire at the point-of-sale, and the ratings will also be available at the NHTSA website, www.safercar.gov. The agency is taking comments from consumers now, and needs to come up with a final rule by December of this year. You can read the press release after the jump. Thanks for the tip, Nick

[Source: LA Times]


U.S. DOT Proposes New Tire Fuel Efficiency Ratings for American Consumers

NHTSA Thursday, June 18, 2009 -- The U.S. Department of Transportation today proposed a new, consumer-friendly replacement tire label which would include, for the first time, information about the tire's impact on fuel economy and CO2 emission reductions. Tires with lower rolling resistance – and proper inflation pressure - can contribute to improved fuel economy.

In addition to the new fuel efficiency ratings, the proposal by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also would provide consumers with two other key pieces of tire performance information - wet weather traction and tread wear. All three ratings would be prominently displayed on a removable label attached to the replacement tire at the point of sale.

The new, three-tiered ratings also will appear on safercar.gov to help consumers in compare ratings as they shop for new tires.

"Today's proposal takes the guess work out of buying the best tires for your vehicle," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "Our proposal would let consumers look at a single label and compare a tire's overall performance as it relates to fuel economy, safety and durability."

NHTSA is required by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 to issue a final rule by December 2009.

Click here to read the proposal.

Click here to view the proposed ratings label.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Maybe they purposely designed those tires to give less grip so the driver drive slower, if he drive any fast then we know that sucker is done for. Its a good idea so these fools cant sue anybody anymore and the car companies will say "Didn't you read the label?" Ah the Darwinism. Yes there is no global warming until one day you experience it yourself. Do not worry about the future just live today like there is no tomorrow wait the minute why do you even care about tomorrow?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I will be buying tires that have all the 'red' marks.
        • 6 Years Ago
        ALL the "red" marks? Good luck braking!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I like label 10.

      It's like the European CO2 chart. Easy to read.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I remember that a change in mood could be responsible for better than a 10% increase in fuel economy. So who's ensuring that the testers are feeling well? Also, how inflated the tires are, etc.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Stay tuned for the forthcoming tax on tires of "high rolling resistance".
      • 6 Years Ago
      In my opinion buying tires based on eco-friendliness is a terrible idea.

      Tires are your very first line of safety in a car, and by far the most important one. No matter what sort of electronic nannies or fancy drivetrain your car has, they all must work within the tires' limits, and so the tires' limits determine exactly how well those secondary safety devices can perform. Low rolling resistant is undoubtedly a result of a very stiff and long-wearing rubber compound, and those two characteristics do not make for good grip on any surface, whatsoever. People who buy tires like that or buy because they're cheap and "good enough" could possibly be risking their own safety and that of others, especially when it comes time to avoid a nasty situation.

      Many of you may not agree that it's needed, but during the summer I put tires on my car that perform extraordinarily well in warm, dry, or wet conditions, and in the winter my car wears proper winter tires. I wish other people would do the same, and especially in the winter.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Unlike the amateur "experts" here wrote, there is not necessarily a correlation between rolling resistance and adherence. Too bad some here declare their assumptions to be reality with no proof whatsoever.

      Some of these low resistance tires actually have a higher adherence then some standard tires.

      Some low rolling resistance tires, such as some Michelin models get softer in turns, acceleration and braking, and get harder in straight lines...in a split second.

        • 6 Years Ago
        Where is YOUR proof?

        BTW, Rubber doesn't change it's coeficient of friction on demand. Sounds like you've been swallowing some marketing speak.

        Low rolling resistance rubber compounds and tread designs tend to be the opposite of high traction, by definition. A strong grip, and a feather-light touch don't usually happen at the same time.

        sticky rubber tends to not have low rolling resistance, nor do high traction treadblock patterns that put more percentage of the contact patch on the ground.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Most of that info is already on the tire
      We can't bother to have people read the labels that already exist?
        • 6 Years Ago
        The only label sort of on the tire is Tire Wear.

        The existing label has no:
        1. rolling resistance
        2. traction.

        You know those "400 AA" labels don't mean crap.
        Just look at the Tirerack surveys. Those existing labels has no relation to reality.
        • 6 Years Ago

        Tread Wear: This number comes from testing the tire in controlled conditions on a government test track.

        just like EPA numbers. So, who would be providing the new ratings?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Fuel efficiency rating?

      My God we have taken this whole 'green' thing hook, line, and sinker.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You know...that's not half bad.

        Hopefully when I buy my "global warming" tires with their knobby tread for my baby seal and polar bear killing truck, they will be like $50 a tire.

        One can dream, right?
        • 6 Years Ago

        All I care about Nicky, is being able to drive my gas guzzling truck...while pulling my gas guzzling boat, and being able to fill them up cheaply.

        And no silly, limp-wristed hybrids or fancy tires are going to make a DENT in our oil imports.

        However, we could stop all of the global warming if only you enviro-nazis would stop with all of you endless rhetoric and all of the hot air you continuously spew.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I look at it this way...if they make the "more efficient" tires more expensive-- we can get our sticky less efficient tires for lower prices....maybe a pipe dream.

        and yes, I agree with you... this whole country has jumped on the green bandwagon
      • 6 Years Ago
      Additional consumer information is almost always a good thing. Now CA, do not move forward with your own label, this is enough.

      Best regards,
      Your Constituent
      • 6 Years Ago
      Compromising on passenger safety for a few extra miles per gallon isn't worth it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I wonder what Goodyear's Infinitread tires would perform.
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