WASHINGTON-``Feebates'' for tires-rebates on tires with low rolling resistance, and fees on those with higher rolling resistance-are among the methods the federal government should use to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars, according to a report released Dec. 13. The report-which also calls for feebates on cars and higher corporate average fuel economy standards-was the work of the non-auto-industry and non-oil-industry members of the Policy Dialogue Advisory Committee to Recommend Options for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Personal Motor Vehicles.
That committee, organized at the order of President Clinton, had a series of meetings in 1994 and 1995, but disbanded without making any official recommendations. The new report has no official force, but represents the views of a majority of the committee members.
``The committee members signing this report believe that a (greenhouse gas reduction) package cannot be complete, and is unlikely to be cost-effective or equitable, without including direct policies for addressing fuel economy and the cost of travel,'' the report said.
According to the report, a feebate system on tires should operate as additions or credits to the existing manufacturers' excise tax on tires. The report recommended the feebate be applied to aftermarket tire sales for all cars and half of light trucks beginning in 1997.
Low-rolling-resistance tires ``can meaningfully increase fuel economy while not sacrificing safety or performance,'' the report said. ``However, low-rolling-resistance tires are more expensive than other tires.'' Encouraging their purchase could increase their share of the aftermarket from 2.5 to 20 percent by 2010, it added.
At the recommendation of Michelin North America, President Clinton called for a federal fuel economy grade for tires, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed replacing the temperature resistance grade in the Uniform Tire Quality Grading System with a fuel economy grade.
The rest of the tire industry protested, however, and Congress added a provision to Transportation Department appropriations for fiscal year 1996 forbidding NHTSA from using any of its funds to issue a tire fuel economy grade.
Signers of the new report include: Public Citizen President and former NHTSA Administrator Joan Claybrook; Clarence M. Ditlow III, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety; and Daniel Becker, director of the Sierra Club's Global Warming and Energy Program.