TIA Says It Backs RMA-Drafted Fuel Efficiency Bill - Tire Review Magazine

TIA Says It Backs RMA-Drafted Fuel Efficiency Bill

(Akron/Tire Review) After weeks of review, TIA has decided to support the tire fuel efficiency program bill (HR 5632) written by the RMA and recently passed by the House Energy Committee.

In making the announcement, TIA said, “The TIA Government Affairs Committee was able to come to consensus after weighing the pros and cons of the legislation.”

Separately, SEMA announced earlier this month that it would not support the bill, which calls for NHTSA to create a national tire fuel efficiency consumer information program that would include a fuel efficiency rating system, requirements for providing such information to tire buyers, and a national consumer tire maintenance consumer education program.

SEMA cited concerns over tire redevelopment costs, potential financial burdens on small businesses and smaller tiremakers, that the bill appears to arbitrarily favor OE tires over replacement units, and the potential for consumers to neglect other key tire performance factors – such as traction, wear, braking – which may be trade-offs in favor of lower rolling resistance.

Further, HR 5632 calls for NHTSA to develop “specifications for test methods for (tire) manufacturers to use in assessing and rating tires to avoid variations among test equipment and manufacturers.”

It is that portion of the bill that appears to create the most confusion and concern.

RMA said it had created the draft legislation last fall in an effort to head off similar efforts in individual states. Tiremakers could have faced multiple unique state-level tire fuel efficiency laws, some of which could be harsher that its own proposed law.

HR 5632, however, does not impact California’s existing fuel efficiency laws.

According to TIA Executive Vice President Roy Littlefield, “There have been numerous bills introduced in many states and at the federal level that would mandate rolling resistance standards equal to or better than original equipment. The fact that these bills have any standing at all can be directly attributed to a lack of national standards.  

“TIA believes HR 5632 is a consumer-information-only program. Manufacturers would not have to design a single new tire, and dealers would not have to alter inventory in any significant way. It simply requires manufacturers to develop testing and rating standards and make that information available to consumers. Section 2 (D) requires a ‘national tire maintenance consumer education program’ – something that could play into TIA’s own plans for outreach to the buying public.”
“While there may be some initial confusion as consumers are first exposed to ratings that affect fuel efficiency, the committee believed that the prospect of individual states developing mandates and how that would play out for many of our members running multi-state businesses in wholesale and retail weighs more heavily,” TIA said in its statement.


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