From November 2012, an energy labeling system will be put in place across the EU. Similar to the current energy ratings on fridges, freezes and even homes, these ratings will be attached to all new tyres produced for passenger cars and light goods vehicles. This change will revolutionize the way in which both consumers and dealers buy their tyres, hopefully for the better.
We’ve put together a guide to cut out the jargon, and tell you what it all really means…
Why have the EU introduced new tyre labeling?
In order to provide standardised information on fuel efficiency, wet grip and external rolling noise, the EU is introducing in November a compulsory label for all new tyres.
By November 2012 all relevant new tyres sold in Europe must carry this label.
The intention is to give users the essential information when choosing new tyres. For novices, it gives them information in a clear and practical way – meaning you can make an informed decision via the use of a simple graphic! Its been designed in a way to make tyres look a little more attractive to us everyday people. As a whole, we all should be a little more vigilant about tyre safety, and the implications it has to overall road safety. There’s the hope that this new tyre labeling will cut road accidents. Good news right?
How will tyres be tested?
The best thing about the introduction will be that tyres will be driven on for thousands of miles, and this data then presented in a way that’s easy in interpret. Tyres will be driven in all weather conditions to ensure that they are safe, and test their performance.
Will premium tyres be immediately given an A rating?
Surprisingly premium tyres will not be automatically given the highest ratings. Why? Because the three areas under the new labeling are very difficult to balance. This means you will need to choose your new tyres on the basis of what really suits your vehicle best, rather than price and brand.
Surely I should just buy the most fuel efficient tyres?
That may seem like a good plan, especially with rocketing fuel prices! A-rated rubber could save you up to 7.5% in fuel costs over the life of the tyre, or 6 litres per 1000 km. But you must also consider that the wet grip grading needs to be high too, especially as from next November another bad winter is sure to set in. So when you purchase new tyres you must consider what suits your vehicle and your driving style.
So we mentioned that tyres will be tested under three areas; fuel efficiency, wet grip and external rolling noise.
Fuel efficiency is important to reduce both CO2 emissions and the cost of driving. The grades are A to G, with D not being used.
Each grade means a reduction or increase in fuel consumption of between 2.5%-4.5%. That’s a difference of about 0.42-0.56 mpg for a 36 mpg car per grade.
Wet grip is a critical safety feature and relates to the tyres ability to stop a vehicle quickly on wet roads and can be expressed in terms of stopping distance. The grades are A to G, with D and G not being used. The difference between each grade means an increase or decrease in stopping distance of between one to two car lengths (between 3 and 6 metres) when braking from 50mph.
This is the external noise made by the tyre and is measured in decibels.
The more black bars shown on the label, the louder the tyre.