HARTFORD, Conn.-Three major tire and auto aftermarket industry associations are voicing strong opposition to proposed legislation in Connecticut that would mandate a statewide replacement tire fuel efficiency rule.
The Connecticut bill, similar to a law passed in California two years ago and a bill considered but not passed by the Massachusetts legislature, would require that replacement tires sold in Connecticut be as energy-efficient as original equipment tires on vehicles registered in the state.
The Connecticut legislature´s Joint Committee on General Law held a hearing on the bill March 2. Tracey Norberg, vice president for environment and resource recovery at the Rubber Manufacturers Association, testified in person against the bill, according to an RMA spokesman.
Also, the Specialty Equipment Market Association and the Tire Industry Association submitted joint testimony to the joint committee opposing the legislation.
According to SEMA and TIA´s written testimony, the Connecticut bill conflicts with the tire performance and tire labeling aspects of the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act. It also violates the Interstate Commerce and Due Process clauses of the Constitution because it effectively creates a 50-state standard, they said.
The bill also would force tire makers to redesign all their replacement tires for improved rolling resistance at the expense of other qualities, the associations said. It would dissuade customers from buying tires with good performance, handling and appearance, solely because of their rolling resistance ratings, they said.
The California Energy Commission is already performing research to judge the feasibility of a tire fuel economy standard, and its results probably will be available by 2008, the RMA spokes-man said. Also, the National Academy of Sciences is preparing a report on the issue that could be ready as early as April 2006.
"It makes no sense for Connecticut to repeat that effort, or-even worse-to come up with a parallel, similar bill that makes further demands on the tire industry," he said.