31.10.2012 Tyre label could cut fuel costs by £140/yr
UK drivers could reduce fuel costs by at least £140 per year if they fitted more fuel efficient tyres on their cars, according to figures from the European Commission.
The news comes on the eve of new EU legislation – which comes into force on 1 November – compelling tyre manufacturers to label their car and light commercial tyres.
For a typical passenger car travelling 15,000 miles per year, the estimated fuel cost savings are between £140 and £190 per year. As the best performing tyres cost more than regular tyres, these net savings are gained from the second year onwards.
The Energy Saving Trust have also conducted research showing that UK businesses could reduce fuel costs by up to £500 million per year if they fitted more fuel efficient tyres on half of their company vehicles. In addition, this would reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1 million tonnes.
The new EU legislation requires all tyres on sale in the UK to display a label indicating their rating on three criteria: grip in wet conditions, external noise and fuel efficiency. Tyres will be rated from A to F (with A the best) on wet grip and from A to G on the other categories. The difference between the best and worst tyres on the market in terms of efficiency can reduce vehicle fuel consumption by up to 7.5% over the lifetime of the tyres.
Tim Anderson, senior knowledge manager at the Energy Saving Trust, said: "We welcome this new legislation and hope that fleet managers and leasing companies benefit from the substantial long-term savings they can make. Better tyres may cost more to purchase but this additional expenditure is usually more than offset by the fuel savings over the tyres' lifetime."
Safety is another key benefit of choosing a better tyre. Safety is assessed for the new labels in terms of grip in wet conditions. The difference between each category is an additional three to six metres braking distance from 50mph to 12.5mph.
Anderson added: "Research has shown that stopping distances from 50mph could be shortened by 18 metres by fitting the safest-rated tyres. At motorway speeds, the difference between the highest and lowest-rated tyres will be even greater. Fitting better tyres is a small step that will make a significant difference to driver safety."
The third factor included on the labels is tyre noise. Above 30mph, most of a car's external noise comes from its tyres. Prolonged exposure to traffic noise can cause high blood pressure in children and has been associated with hypertension and heart disease in adults.
For more info about the new tyre labelling regulations: Europa website
For a PDF about the new tyre label: Tyre label Q&As
Energy Saving trust, Europa£
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