WASHINGTON—The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is continuing to talk with industry stakeholders about certifying retreaded tires for inclusion in the SmartWay Transportation Partnership, although there is no timetable for reaching that goal, the EPA said.
The SmartWay Transportation Partnership, launched in 2004, is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from truck fleets, promote U.S. energy security and save truck fleets money in the process.
The EPA said talks are ongoing with tire makers, retreaders, the Rubber Manufacturers Association and others to assess how to best implement a SmartWay retread tire verification program.
The EPA holds periodic conference calls to discuss technical topics, including the range of performance for retread tires, how tire casings are handled prior to retreading and options to identify SmartWay-verified retread tires.
These and related technical questions, and sufficient test data, are needed to develop a retread tire verification program for SmartWay, the EPA said.
An important part of the SmartWay program is its “Verified Technologies” list, in which the EPA evaluates and certifies the fuel saving benefits of certain types of truck equipment. There are four categories of Verified Technologies in SmartWay, one of which is Low Rolling Resistance Tires. (The others are Idle Reduction Technologies, Aerodynamic Technologies and Retrofit Technologies.)
Under the terms of the SmartWay program, truck fleets may use National Clean Diesel Emission Reduction Program grants to buy equipment on the Verified Technologies list.
Tires make the Verified Technologies list if—through EPA testing and research as well as data provided by their manufacturers—they are demonstrated to provide a reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions, as well as to reduce fuel consumption by at least 3 percent compared with the “best-selling” new tires for line haul trucks.
Currently, various tires sold under the Bridgestone, BF Goodrich, Continental, Double Coin, Dunlop, Firestone, Goodyear, Hankook, Michelin, Toyo and Yokohama brand names have been placed on the Verified Technologies list.
In a speech before the 2009 Clemson University Tire Industry Conference, Cheryl L. Bynum, EPA senior policy analyst for SmartWay, said she had received a proposal from the Tread Rubber & Tire Repair Materials Manufacturers Group to include retreads on the Verified Technologies list.
Bynum said she was in the process of reviewing the proposal and would meet with stakeholders about the feasibility of certifying retreads for SmartWay.
Groups such as TRIB, meanwhile, keep their members updated on the status of the discussions, but to date there has been little hard news to report.
TRIB Managing Director Harvey Brodsky is confident retreads will make the Verified Technologies List.
“Anybody with a brain in their heads knows retreads were made for the SmartWay program,” Brodsky said. “They're so environmentally friendly compared with new tires.”