WASHINGTON—The Obama administration is rolling out a series of initiatives designed to provide U.S. consumers with more guidance on selecting low rolling resistance tires and to enhance tire safety.
Transportation Department Secretary Anthony Foxx presented details of the program today at the White House.
The key highlights of the program are:
• Setting a deadline of 2017 to finalize a rule establishing a tire fuel-efficiency consumer information program;
• Collaborating with tire manufactures, fuel distributors and tire retailers to support a “Tire Safety Awareness Month,” starting today and running through Jan. 9, 2015;
• Partnering with NASCAR on a “Drive for Safety” initiative during the 2015 racing season; and
• Releasing “Be TireWise,” a guide to help consumers save money at the pump, increased efficiency and protect their safety.
The nation's domestic tire makers—Bridgestone Americas Inc., Continental Tire the Americas, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., Goodyear, Michelin North America Inc., Pirelli Tire North America, Toyo Tire North America and Yokohama Tire Corp.—and a number of key retailers are all pledging to support Tire Safety Awareness Month in various ways.
Regarding tire fuel-efficiency labeling, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been working on a system since March 2010. That now appears to be delayed at least two more years.
At the same time, the White House is pushing NHTSA and the Environmental Protection Agency to “develop and issue the next phase of medium- and heavy-duty vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards by March 2016.”
Under this timeline, the agencies are expected to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) by March 2015, Foxx said.
This second round of fuel-efficiency standards will build on the standards developed for (model year 2014-18 medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. These earlier standards are estimated to save vehicle owners and operators $50 billion in fuel costs and save a projected 530 million barrels of oil, the Transportation Department said.
Foxx prefaced his remarks by saying the Obama Administration is committed to taking steps to promote safety, combat climate change, cut energy waste and reduce this nation's dependence on foreign oil.
Among the individual companies supporting tire safety awareness month:
Bridgestone Americas will offer free tire inspections at more than 2,200 Bridgestone Retail Operations stores, maintain a website to inform consumers about tire safety and regular tire inspections and promote Teens Drive Smart.
Goodyear will offer tire care education on its website, free inflation pressure services at its more than 600 company-owned retail stores.
Cooper will provide a tire safety kit to those who buy Cooper tires and promote tire care messages via social media to younger drivers and to the blogging community.
Michelin is pushing “Beyond the Driving Test,” an initiative designed to increase the awareness among teen drivers of the importance of tire maintenance and safety in all the drivers' education instruction programs across the nation.
Pirelli will provide consumer tire care information on its website and through the RMA's Be Tire Smart-Play Your PART programs.
Continental will support Tire Safety Month through consumer safety messages on its website and social media channels.
Toyo will encourage consumers to maintain tire pressures and perform routine checks of their tires.
Yokohama will emphasize tire care information on its website and partner with its tire dealer network to do the same.
The National Association of Convenience Stores will communicate the Tire Safety Month to its 40,000 subscribers of its daily news feed, as well as on its website.
ExxonMobil will increase the visibility of a 30-second television commercial called “Tires - An energy quiz” in national network and cable rotation. The spot communicates the fact that “if every driver in the US kept their tires properly inflated, the U.S. would save up to 4 billion gallons of fuel.”
BP will promote safety, savings to consumers and increased energy efficiency through its periodic newsletter sent to a database of some 1.8 million consumer-members of the “Driver Rewards” program.
Discount Tire/America's Tire will integrate TireWise campaign materials into a public service announcement (PSA) kit including targeted press releases, blogs and other special messaging events.
TireRack.com will provide drivers who visit its site with safety education and tire maintenance information and promote tire care messages targeted to drivers of all ages on social media and to the blogging community.