WASHINGTON—A task group of government officials and industry stakeholders is working on achieving the certification of retreaded tires under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's SmartWay Transport Partnership program, according to participants in the process.
The task group began its work late last year, according to Stan Lew, manager of industry standards and government regulations for Michelin North America Inc. Group members are concentrating on creating testing and evaluation standards for retreads under SmartWay, but nothing has been finalized, Lew said.
Launched in 2004, the SmartWay program is a collaborative effort between the EPA and truck fleets to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Among other things, SmartWay certifies tractors, trailers, tires and aerodynamic equipment as complying with the program's goals, and truck fleet owners can demonstrate compliance with SmartWay by purchasing these products.
To date, a number of new truck tires have been SmartWay-certified, but retreads have not been. Despite widespread recognition of the environmental friendliness of retreads, so far no tests have been developed to demonstrate that they meet SmartWay fuel efficiency goals.
Adding urgency to the task is the California Air Resources Board's ruling to require SmartWay-approved trucks, tires and other products for heavy-duty truck fleets operating within the state.
CARB would consider either a retread using a casing from a SmartWay-approved tire or a retread process approved by the SmartWay program to be compliant with CARB regulations, according to Stephan Lemieux, the CARB official in charge of administering the state's Tractor-Trailer Greenhouse Gas regulations.
Because of the ongoing effort to obtain SmartWay certification for retreads, CARB has staggered its compliance deadlines for truck tires, Lemieux and Lew said.
Trucks from the 2011 model year and later had to be equipped with SmartWay-approved, low-rolling-resistance tires as of Jan. 1, 2010, according to the CARB website. Tractors from the 2010 model year or earlier have until Jan. 1, 2013, to comply, while trailers from 2010 or earlier have until Jan. 1, 2017.