SALEM, Ore.-The Oregon legislature has mandated the use of lightweight tire studs, in lieu of standard studs, beginning Nov. 1, 1996. The legislation, which was approved June 9, originally called for the complete elimination of tire studs in an effort to reduce road damage.
But the Northwest Tire Dealers Association-with the assistance of Bruno Wessel, president of Bruno Wessel Inc., a tire stud distributor based in Sarasota, Fla., and of the American Automobile Association of Oregon-helped the transportation department rewrite the bill to allow for new lightweight studs.
A similar bill was introduced in the Washington legislature, but the legislative session ended before any action was taken, according to NWTDA Executive Director Richard Nordness.
Lightweight studs, commonly used in Europe, contain aluminum instead of steel in the gripper tips. They are defined in the Oregon law as weighing no more than 1.5 grams.
Proponents of lightweight studs claim they provide the same durability and grip as standard studs, yet cause only half as much road damage.
However, the lightweight studs are more expensive than standard studs. Tire dealers may need to increase the price of studding tires by at least $2 per tire, according to the NWTDA's Mr. Nordness.
The association anticipates the Oregon law could become a catalyst for similar measures in other states and that Washington and Idaho eventually may adopt similar laws.
It also is possible, Mr. Nordness said, that the regional tire market may just switch to lightweight studs, because many retailers and stud suppliers that operate in all three states-Oregon, Washington and Idaho-would otherwise be encumbered with handling dual inventories.