The European Union is trying to use marketing rules to improve the safety and environmental performance of tires that are sold into Europe, with ministers approving a proposal that expands manufacturers’ and retailers’ obligations regarding tire labeling.
Under a new regulation backed March 4 by the EU Council of Ministers, stickers would have to be fixed to more types of tires and would include more information – with the goal of persuading consumers to not just use cost as a guide to buying tires.
Romania’s energy minister, Anton Anton, whose country currently holds the EU’s presidency, says the new rules will help consumers “make an informed choice on the safety and fuel efficiency of their tires” helping reduce vehicles’ greenhouse-gas emissions. The labels also address tire noise.
The text approved by ministers – which must be voted upon by the EU’s elected assembly, the European Parliament, which is almost guaranteed to back the rules – extends the requirement for informational labels to be fixed onto tires for trucks and buses. Until now, EU rules have mandated them for cars and vans.
The law, once in force, also would insist that labels include information on how tires grip in snow and ice.
This information would have to be included next to the price on websites selling tires, to guide online consumers. And tire manufacturers and suppliers would have to introduce detailed information on the tires they sell into a product database, including energy-efficiency classes, testing methods and more.
Looking ahead, the law would force the EU’s executive branch, the European Commission, to consider changing the requirements for labels to include how long a tire will last, once effective abrasion assessment systems are developed.
Fazilet Cinaralp, secretary general of ETRMA, the European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers’ Assn., says she expects a final text to be approved within a year, or by March 2020 – not unusual, considering the EU’s often slow decision-making procedures.
She welcomes the reform, given that five years after the EU first introduced a mandatory tire label, there was “a strong indication that there is limited consumer awareness surrounding the label and that the label system needs to establish itself further to deliver its full potential.”
Cinaralp also suggests the EU could help by incentivizing the purchase of higher-performing tires and improving market controls on mislabeled tires.
“The European tire industry is committed to producing the highest-performing tires and recognizes the benefits of the tire label in creating healthy competition between manufacturers and informing consumers,” Cinaralp tells Wards.