American car buyers are used to seeing window stickers with information about fuel efficiency, crash test ratings and emissions. They may soon have another chunk of information to review when they go to their local tire store to buy new rubber. Buying new tires has always been problematic for drivers. Given how dependent tire performance is on things that the buyer can't see - rubber compounds and internal construction, for example - it's impossible to judge tires by just looking at them.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is proposing a new sticker for replacement tires that would give buyers more information on which to judge tires. In addition to a wet traction index and tread wear rating, the new proposed stickers would include a fuel efficiency rating. The new rating is based on the tire's rolling resistance, which contributes to the overall efficiency of the vehicle. The new stickers are actually a requirement of the 2007 energy bill and NHTSA has to finalize them by the end of this year. Unfortunately, the sticker should also have some information about the tire's grip characteristics, which affect handling and braking capabilities.

[Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration]

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