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Fuel Management

May 08, 2008

Tire Fuel Efficiency Labeling Will Clear Confusion

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Some people — even tire dealers — believe that all tires provide the same fuel efficiency, and some drivers have learned through experience that they do not, said a Los Angeles Times article. While experts say that fuel efficiency can vary quite a bit from tire to tire, consumers don’t always know which tire saves them the most money on fuel.

Part of the problem is that there is no standardized rating available. A 2003 California law calls for a fuel-economy tire labeling system, which tire manufacturers supported.

They also were in favor of a provision in the federal energy bill passed in December that would create a national labeling system, said the Los Angeles Times.

But tire manufacturers opposed a provision of the California law that would set an efficiency requirement for tires sold in the state. They also opposed a standard that would make tires more airtight, which would reduce fuel inefficiency due to underinflated tires.

Drivers who want stylish tires may not realize that wider tires with bigger rims will cause their fuel consumption to increase. Also, vehicle manufacturers, who are asking for more efficient tires, are at the same time enlarging the size of wheels and tires on their models, actions that are at odds with each other.

Tire makers expect that the future will bring more fuel-efficient tires while maintaining other safety features, such as traction, stopping ability and tread life, said the Los Angeles Times.

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