WASHINGTON—Tire prices at the wholesale level fell virtually across the board in 1996, according to the U.S. Labor Department's Producer Price Index. Overall, prices of tires and tubes dropped 3.7 percent between December 1995 and December 1996, with prices of passenger tires plunging 5.0 percent and those of truck and bus tires (including light truck) skidding 2.6 percent.
On the other hand, prices of tread rubber, tire repair materials and sundries grew during the year, albeit by just 0.6 percent. Tread rubber prices were nearly flat, while those of repair materials and sundries climbed 3.0 percent.
Prices of light truck radials slid 3.9 percent, while those of non-radials slipped only 0.5 percent.
Prices of radial passenger tires dived 5.1 percent for the year, while all-season tires dropped by only about half as much.
There was virtually no change on the one-month comparison, from November to December 1996, though prices of radial truck and bus tires did edge up 0.3 percent. For the year, however, they were down 2.5 percent.