WASHINGTON (June 3, 2002) — The proposed new U.S. performance standard for passenger and light truck tires will lead to over-engineered tires that waste material and energy and result in increased fuel consumption for all vehicles, according to the European Tyre and Rim Technical Organisation (ETRTO).
The new testing “cannot be justified, as no advantage, compared to existing requirements, can be proved for the customer and for the improvement of traffic safety,” the ETRTO told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in a June 3 comment.
Complying with the new regulations also will cost the industry considerably more than the $282 million NHTSA estimated earlier, the ETRTO said, because NHTSA failed to consider the increased costs of using more expensive materials and the costs of enlarging factories to accommodate testing facilities necessary to conduct regular checks.
In its letter to NHTSA, the ETRTO urges the agency to consider adopting standards similar to the approach used in Europe for the past 25 years—namely, to specify that tire performance be at least equal to the maximum design performances of the vehicle they're designed to fit.
The ETRTO is a technical body established by the European tire and wheel industries to establish common engineering dimensions, load/pressure characteristics and operational guidelines for their products. It also seeks to guarantee compatibility of tires, rims and valves throughout Europe. Its equivalent in North America is the Tire & Rim Association.
The Rubber Manufacturers Association, the Tire Association of North America and other tire organizations are expected to file comments on the standard by the deadline of June 5.