Jim's Blog: Trust the Man Who Wears the Star? - Tire Review Magazine

Jim’s Blog: Trust the Man Who Wears the Star?

As we are plodding perilously along toward an all-encompassing tire grading system, it might be helpful to take note of the administrative failures of the Energy Star system. You know, the labeling system concocted by the government to give consumers an idea how much their new frig would cost them in power usage.

Energy Star is jointly administered by the Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, and was supposed to be a method for consumers to compare appliances, at least based on energy consumption, on a more apples-to-apples basis.

But it appears there have been some lapses in the system, to the point that the EPA and Energy Department have lost all control. Appliance and electronics makers are allegedly, according to a New York Times report, fudging their numbers to make them better, and that some products have not even qualified to carry the Energy Star sticker, yet show up in stores with the sticker attached.

This revelation came from an internal audit conducted by the Energy Department.

Much like our glorious UTQG system, makers of major appliances, heating and air conditioning systems, and even computers can test and certify their own products. Meanwhile, the Energy Department requires independent testing and certification for windows and LED and fluorescent lighting.

Making this even worse is the fact that consumers can qualify for rebates of up to $100 for buying more energy efficient appliances – based on the product’s Energy Star ratings!

Quoting from the NYT article: “Teams from the Energy Department and the EPA oversee different categories of products. Last December, the environmental agency’s inspector general said the Energy Star ratings for products it oversees, like computers and television sets, were ‘not accurate or verifiable’ because of weak oversight by the agency.”

No doubt, this industry needs to make sure whatever testing and grading system is employed is correct, fair and consistent. The government is going to be telling drivers that this new scheme will make it simple for them to find the right tire, whether they are keying on treadwear, traction or fuel efficiency.

Those mandated labels will be the new marketing hammer for every tire company, so it needs to be right. The first time.

More importantly, the government has to be forced to stay on top of this thing, lest we suffer as seriously a failure as the Energy Star system just did.

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