The California Energy Commission (CEC) plans to issue a contract for a study on tire rolling resistance by Nov. 17, according to a CEC official.
A bill passed by the California legislature in September 2003 mandated the study, noted Arnie Ward, energy commission specialist II with the CEC. That law-which the tire industry fought during the legislative process but took a neutral stance on as passed-requires implementation of a statewide energy efficiency standard for replacement tires by July 1, 2008.
The CEC had a pre-bid conference in Sacramento Aug. 17 with prospective contractors for the study, according to Mr. Ward. ``The bids are due by Sept. 10, and based on our estimates, we expect to award the contract Nov. 17,'' he said.
As required by the state law, the study will consider various aspects of rolling resistance, Mr. Ward said. It will take into account the current Society of Automotive Engineers tests for rolling resistance-SAE 1269 and the more complex SAE 2452-to determine whether they're comparable in accuracy, he said.
The study also will consider rolling resistance's effects on tire costs, safety and performance, also as mandated in the law, Mr. Ward added.
``We'll be looking at treadwear, wet traction, stopping distance and recyclability-whether a rolling resistance standard would require the addition of chemicals that would make scrap tires harder to recycle,'' he said. ``We'll also consider underinflation and whether underinflated low-rolling-resistance tires perform worse than underinflated normal tires.''
There was no word on when the CEC expected the study to be completed. However, the law requires the results of laboratory and on-road rolling resistance testing to be submitted to the CEC by Jan. 1, 2006.
A spokesman for the Rubber Manufacturers Association said the RMA and its members continue to work with the CEC on the rolling resistance standard and issues related to it. The Tire Industry Association declined comment.