WASHINGTON-The tire industry is floating a legislative proposal on Capitol Hill to create a consumer notification and information program on replacement tire rolling resistance and fuel economy.
Such a bill, industry pundits said, could forestall efforts in Congress and state legislatures to create a mandate that replacement tires be at least as fuel-efficient as the original equipment tires they replace.
California passed such a law three years ago. The California Energy Commission is expected to release a report later this year on the feasibility of creating a rolling resistance/fuel economy rating system for replacement tires. Meanwhile, two New York Democrats in Congress-Sen. Charles Schumer and Rep. Eliot Engel-have sponsored bills to mandate low rolling resistance in tires, and eight other states followed California´s lead in considering rolling resistance legislation.
While the details of the federal proposal aren´t firm yet, the Rubber Manufacturers Association is pondering the creation of a consumer notification program on the federal level, according to Mark Burtschi, Goodyear director of federal and state affairs.
The program probably would consist of a grading system similar to Uniform Tire Quality Grading, but as a separate initiative rather than an addition to UTQG, Burtschi said. The grades would be disseminated probably through pamphlets or other point-of-sale materials. There also would be an informational Web site, as well as a consumer bulletin from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.