DIAMOND BAR, Calif. (July 13, 2006) — The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) has contacted House members, urging them to oppose a bill that would establish a national tire fuel efficiency consumer information program.
“With the price of gasoline at $3 a gallon, lawmakers are searching for legislation that will demonstrate that Congress is responding to America's energy needs,” the association said. “SEMA is working to educate legislatures that this legislation is not a proper response.”
The legislation recently was approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee and may head to the full House this summer. It would establish a tire fuel efficiency rating system combined with a national consumer education program on tire maintenance administered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The bill includes an exemption that SEMA sought for limited-production tires, deep treads and snow tires, but the association said it believes the bill is unnecessary. SEMA pointed to NHTSA's review of a report about tire fuel efficiency and the agency's consideration of whether to implement its recommendations—an effort that is duplicated by the legislation, the association said.
SEMA also said it is concerned that the bill may raise more safety concerns by distracting motorists away from proper inflation, alignment and balance.
“They may also dissuade consumers from buying tires that have improved performance, handling or appearance features, based solely on a rolling resistance rating,” SEMA said in a statement.
Among the association's other concerns, it cited:
* More regulatory burdens for tire makers, distributors and installers;
* Substantial tire redesign costs for tire makers and performance tradeoffs to improve fuel efficiency;
* A perception that original equipment tires are superior since they would potentially be exempt; and
* Burdens on small businesses through tire testing and information dissemination.