WASHINGTON—The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has sent the consumer information portion of its tire fuel efficiency rating rule to the White House for consideration.
The consumer information provisions, which have been pending since NHTSA issued a bare-bones tire fuel efficiency final rule in March 2010, was sent Oct. 18 to the White House Office of Management and Budget's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OMB/OIRA) Oct. 18.
The tire fuel efficiency standard was mandated by passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. NHTSA issued a first draft of the consumer information portion in 2009, but the agency went back to the drawing board after the industry and other commenters suggested improvements to make the consumer information effort more effective.
“Throughout the regulatory process, our goal has been a final rule that will provide consumers with clear, meaningful information to aid their tire purchasing decisions,” said Anne Forristall Luke, president and CEO of the Rubber Manufacturers Association, in an Oct. 18 press release.
“An effective consumer information rule will be a major step forward toward implementing other regulations required under last year's federal highway legislation,” Luke said.
From the beginning, the RMA has advocated a five-category rating system for tire fuel efficiency/rolling resistance, wet traction and treadwear. In 2010 and 2011, NHTSA research showed that consumers favored the five-category system, the RMA said.
In 2015, the RMA also obtained language in the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act that would ban the sales of tires in the U.S. that do not meet minimum standards for rolling resistance and wet traction.
The RMA said it looked forward to working with OMB/OIRA on the consumer information proposal, and the Tire Industry Association said it would support the RMA on this issue.
“For competitive and cost considerations, we have supported the manufacturers and relied on their leadership and expertise,” said TIA Executive Vice President Roy Littlefield. After the issuance of the 2010 final rule, TIA advanced itself as the logical third-party entity to administer the consumer education portion of the fuel efficiency standard.
OMB/OIRA should complete its review of the NHTSA consumer information proposal by Jan. 14, 2017, unless both agencies agree that more time is needed. Once completed, the document will be published in the Federal Register as a proposed rule, with a 60-day comment period.
The content of the proposal will not be made public until its publication in the Federal Register.