BOSTON (June 20)—Tire manufacturers and dealers are fighting a bill before the Massachusetts legislature that would require the state to follow California in requiring fuel efficiency ratings for replacement tires.
The bill, according to the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, would save Massachusetts motorists some 130 million gallons of gasoline and $293 million annually, as well as reducing auto pollutants by 2.865 billion pounds annually.
But Tracey Norberg, vice president of environment and resource recovery at the Rubber Manufacturers Association, urged at a June 7 hearing that the bill be postponed until after the National Academy of Sciences and the California Energy Commission completed their studies on tire rolling resistance. "There is a fundamental relationship between rolling resistance, traction and treadwear, and one characteristic cannot be maximized without affecting the others," she said.
Tony Koles of Montvale Tire in Melrose, Mass., said that in a rural state, the bill might achieve its estimated 2-percent fuel savings. "But in this state, we´d never achieve anything like a 2-percent fuel savings, because it´s all stop-and-go driving, mostly stop," he said.
There is no floor action currently planned on the bill, according to an RMA spokesman.