Rolling resistance has come a long way since the 1800s, but it is still a topic discussed often in the industry. Pottinger served on a panel, along with Larry Evans, principal, Larry Evans Consulting, and Gerald Potts, CEO and chief technology officer of TMSI L.L.C., a Mesnac Co., to discuss the current state of rolling resistance.
A common theme was that the European market's rolling resistance efforts are changing the game, but the U.S. is trailing behind the standards.
“To quote myself at an ITEC a few years ago, the project moves at the speed of government,” Evans said. “The rolling resistance standard in the United States has been delayed to at least 2017.”
He did explain that some things definitely will happen, including one test that will be the ISO 28580 procedure.
Evans said most likely Smithers Rapra will be the reference lab for the U.S. for regulations, so everything will be referenced to its data. However, it is unclear whether the data referenced will be Smithers' raw data or whether it will be Smithers' data corrected to the European theoretical tire for which it referenced the data.
Additionally, it is probable, but not official, that the U.S. will adhere to the same measurement bins as Europe. “(The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) has no authority to ban tires, so unlike Europe, they won't be able to ban any high rolling resistance tires,” he explained.
Evans added that while these efforts are in conjunction with the EPA, Congress would have to designate the EPA as the regulatory agency for enforcement to change that situation.
At this point, it is a “consumer information only” sort of regulation.
Potts added that Europe enacted its regulations on Nov. 1, 2012. With that bin system, tires greater than 12.0 rolling resistance coefficient are not going to be sold in Europe. In the U.S., the government has no authority to ban the sale of those tires. Additionally, on Nov. 1, 2018, Europe is banning tires with more than 10.0. In Europe's system, those were tires labeled Gs and Fs. In the European system, there is no D, so there will be an A, B, C, E system.
Potts said no one knows where things stand today, because things have changed so much because of Europe.