What did the EU ever do for us?


2.  Made it quieter

A new EU law means tire manufacturers will have to start fitting  colour-coded stickers to  guide drivers on how safe, fuel efficient and loud their tires are.  There are  about 300 different brands of tyre on sale in the UK, and they vary widely in how well they perform on the road.  The safest tyres will stop you three car lengths quicker than the worst performers. The best performers on fuel efficiency could save consumer nearly £100 a year on their fuel bill. An EU  wide increased use of efficient tires could mean fuel savings equivalent to the annual oil consumption of Hungary. Carbon dioxide savings could amount to 4 million tons, or the equivalent of removing 1.3 million passenger cars from the roads each year.

The ratings will also  have to be shown in catalogs, leaflets and online marketing, giving customers other opportunities to make an informed choice.

The labels will start appearing from 1 July but retailers have until November to make sure they are on every new tyre.  The label shows –

  • How good the tyre is at stopping in the wet [top right]. Green is best.
  • How fuel efficient they are [top left].
  • How much noise the tyres make [bottom]

I think the most important of the three is the decibel rating. Most road noise is caused by tires, not engines.  Manufacturers have had little incentive to make quieter tires.  Now they have. Some consumers will start to opt for quieter tires. That will press manufacturers to introduce tires with lower decibel ratings.  A few years on and the EU will start to set mandatory minimum standards on all three criteria.

Manufacturers are not happy. They have had an easy ride because consumers could not make informed choices. Now they will have to up their act.

Watch for big improvements in tire quality and a quieter Europe.

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