SAN FRANCISCO (Feb. 3, 2012) — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is scheduled to hold a public workshop today in San Francisco to gather additional information on how to implement a tire fuel-efficiency consumer information program, a requirement under a law passed in 2007.
In 2010, the NHTSA established the test procedures to be used by tire manufacturers when rating the fuel economy, safety and durability characteristics of replacement tires. However, the agency is still debating how to convey the information to consumers at the point of sale and online, according to a news item in the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) newsletter.
NHTSA is holding the workshop from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the San Francisco Federal Building at 90 7th Street in San Francisco. Those slated to speak had to register with the agency a week earlier.
The Tire Industry Association (TIA) has been promoting itself as a logical group to oversee the public education program portion of the law.
NHTSA is trying to determine whether to base the fuel-efficiency rating on the rolling-resistance coefficient or the rolling-resistance force and, SEMA said, also is interested in reviewing the experiences other countries have had in pursuing similar programs.
The premise for the program is to allow consumers to compare ratings for different replacement tires and determine the effect of tire choices on fuel economy or the potential tradeoffs between tire fuel efficiency (rolling resistance), safety (wet traction) and durability (treadwear life).
The consumer information may be conveyed in the form of a one- to five-star rating system or some similar approach whose information will be included on a label affixed to each tire.
Diamond Bar, Calif.-based SEMA noted that the 2007 law included a provision it spearheaded that exempts tires that have been produced or imported in annual units of less than 15,000, and do not exceed 35,000 tires in total brand name production.