WASHINGTON (Aug. 25, 2009) — A maximum rolling-resistance standard should be added to the proposed tire fuel-efficiency rating rule, according to Michelin North America Inc.
“A maximum rolling-resistance standard would unequivocally remove the worst rolling-resistance tires from the market and would complement and further promote the intent of the tire fuel-efficiency consumer information program,” said Michelin, the only tire manufacturer to file comments separately on the pending National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standard. “A standard would reward those tire manufacturers who aggressively seek lower rolling resistance characteristics for their tires.”
Michelin, which considers itself in the vanguard of research into lower tire rolling resistance, has for years advocated a maximum rolling resistance standard. The Rubber Manufacturers Association's (RMA) comments to NHTSA on the tire fuel-efficiency rule contained nothing about a maximum rolling-resistance standard.
In other aspects of the proposed rule, Michelin was more or less in agreement with the RMA. Like the association, Michelin opposed NHTSA's proposal to allow only certain aspects of the ISO 28580 test for measuring rolling resistance. “The favored NHTSA methods are not available in all other countries,” the Greenville, S.C.-based tire maker said.
Michelin also addressed the possibility of confusion between tire fuel efficiency and Uniform Tire Quality Grading ratings, as well as problems within UTQG itself. The tire maker opposed placing the date of manufacture on paper labels for tire fuel-efficiency ratings, because it would require redesign of the labels every week and replicate information already molded into the tires' sidewalls, the company said. It also supported extending the tire fuel-efficiency labeling requirement to original equipment tires as well as replacement tires.