Sacramento - When it comes time to replace the tires that came with that new car, drivers don't realize that tires play an important role in the gasoline consumption of their vehicle.
Most consumers buy replacement tires based on cost, longevity and other performance factors -- such as speed and traction -- but few consider or know about the "rolling resistance" feature of tires. Rolling resistance, a measurement of fuel economy, varies. Tires with low rolling resistance could potentially offer as much as two to five percent savings in fuels costs per year.
In an effort to provide consumers with information they need to make wise choices about tire replacement, the California Energy Commission today approved work on a study that will serve as the basis for an eventual tire fuel efficiency reporting system and minimum efficiency standards.
The 18-month, $400,000 contract with Smithers Scientific Services Inc., an independent testing, research and consulting firm, will examine tire characteristics such as longevity, safety, ease of recycling and establish a database of findings. The study was authorized by Assembly Bill 844, legislation signed into law in 2003.
Assembly Bill 844 gave the Energy Commission authority to adopt fuel efficiency labeling and ratings standards for all replacement tires sold in the state beginning in 2008. The law also requires that rolling resistance data be made easily accessible to anyone purchasing tires.
According to the Energy Commission, millions of gallons of fuel could be saved if consumers use fuel efficiency information as they make their decisions about replacement tires.
Similar appliance efficiency standards - saving the State's consumers as much as $3 billion a year -- were pioneered in California and are now accepted nationally.
In an effort to develop and disseminate consumer information about low rolling resistance tires, the California Energy Commission and the Integrated Waste Management Board are working cooperatively with the tire industry to study performance characteristics compared to rolling resistance. A key concern to both of these agencies is that future economy improvement does not come at the expense of tire life. Once this work is completed the information will be available on the Energy Commission's Consumer Energy Center WebSite:
Today's Energy Commission action will be the basis for adopting low rolling resistance tire regulations. These regulatory proceedings will rely heavily on industry and public input. The proceedings are expected to start in July 2006.