By Jennifer Karpus, Tire Business staff
LAS VEGAS (Nov. 5, 2013) — Former Congressman Albert Wynn, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 16 years for Maryland's 4th District, was a special guest at the Tire Industry Association's (TIA) reception on Monday night, Nov. 4, at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas.
In introducing Congressman Wynn at the TIA cocktail reception, Roy Littlefield, TIA executive vice president, said the congressman was an important part of the House's Energy and Commerce Committee and sponsor of such legislation as the 2007 Energy Act. That legislation included a tire fuel efficiency consumer information program.
"He has been our champion on Capitol Hill," Mr. Littlefield said.
Congressman Wynn took the stage and briefly explained his days in the House, during which President Barack Obama began talking about energy policy and how Americans should inflate their tires.
"And a lot of people thought that was a weak energy policy," he said, "but those of you in this room know the research supports what he was saying—that in fact, proper inflation, proper maintenance results in fuel efficiency."
The former Democratic congressman said that was a goal of the 2007 bill: Sponsors were trying to "get the low hanging fruit of energy efficiency as part of a larger American effort to save energy and become energy independent."
The 2007 Energy Act was passed, providing for consumer education, including a program to educate people on how to inflate their tires, rotate their tires, how to have tires properly aligned, and how that can save the consumer money and produce energy savings for the country, he said.
He said TIA sent in guidance about tire information for consumers to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and also said it would make pamphlets and posters to put in shops. But Congressman Wynn said "that's not going to educate consumers.
"There's a lot of data that said that consumers need to have viable, active communication."
Consumers need more than just visual communication, Congressman Wynn said, noting TIA has consistently stated that tire dealers "need to train trainers; you need to have people who can talk to customers at the point of sale, and that way people will really understand what's going on."
"Unfortunately in the current fiscal climate," he continued, "NHTSA has not embraced our concept of a public/private partnership. We are still working on that.
"We're going to keep working on that aspect of the problem because we think if they let us train people at the point of sale we can provide the information that is desired."
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