Tire Makers Propose Tire Fuel Efficiency Rating System

Five Category System Would Maximize Tire Choices for ConsumersRMA Comments submitted to NHTSA

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846
dzielinski@rma.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.August 24, 2009 - Tire manufacturers are proposing a tire fuel efficiency rating system that is more likely to assist motorists to choose fuel efficient replacement tires than a system proposed by federal regulators.

In written comments to a proposed tire fuel efficiency consumer information regulation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Rubber Manufacturers Association said its members believe that to establish effective consumer information requirements regarding tire efficiency, the program must meet the following:

• Provide information at point of sale;
• Provide meaningful information that is easy to understand by consumers;
• Provide a wide range of tire efficiency choices across the rating scale to each consumer about replacement tire choices appropriate for the consumer’s existing vehicle;
• Be cost effective to minimize the cost effect of this information to consumers.

RMA supports a five category rating system that maximizes the tire efficiency choices across the rating scale for available to each consumer.

“Since consumers shopping for replacement tires are limited in their tire selections by requirements of their existing vehicle, it is important to design a rating system that maximizes the tire efficiency choices across the rating scale for each consumer. The appeal of a rating system will depend on whether a consumer has “good” choices appropriate for his vehicle across the rating scale,” RMA wrote.

In June, NHTSA proposed a tire fuel efficiency rating system that would be printed on a paper label on every replacement passenger tire sold in the U.S. The rating system would rank tire fuel efficiency on a 0-100 point scale. The proposed rule also would rate wet traction capability and tread wear. The regulation was required by energy legislation enacted by Congress in 2007. RMA advocated in favor of the provision to create a tire fuel efficiency consumer information program.

RMA said that NHTSA’s proposed rating approach would not provide consumers with useful information about fuel efficiency of replacement tires suitable for their vehicles. Under the NHTSA proposal, a typical consumer shopping for a replacement tire for a specific vehicle would have a choice only along approximately a 20 to 30 point spread on the 100 point scale.

“The proposed rating scale gives consumers an illusory view of the tire efficiency choices available to them for their vehicle and does not assist consumers in purchasing fuel efficient tires for their vehicle,” RMA wrote. “On the other hand, this rating approach encourages consumers to purchase smaller tires and could promote the purchase of tires with inadequate load-carrying capacity to safely carry the load of the vehicle. Although many tire dealers would discourage and in many cases would not sell a tire with a rated load capacity insufficient for the vehicle, NHTSA should not promote a system that could lead to this type of safety concern.”

RMA said that NHTSA should develop a system that promotes tire efficiency, regardless of vehicle class.

“Unfortunately, since the proposed system would not favorably rate any tires suitable for larger vehicles, it would send the message to owners of these vehicles that they have no fuel efficient tire choices, so they should not base tire purchasing decisions on this information,” RMA wrote.

RMA also expressed opposition to the propose tire rating system label as a means of providing point of sale information to consumers.

“RMA proposes that NHTSA mandate that tire retailers have the rating information available to consumers in the dealer showroom or waiting area. RMA recommends that NHTSA give tire retailers options for making this information available and require that each retailer choose one or more options that suits their business model and needs. Options could include: tire manufacturer brochures, tire manufacturer product catalogues, in-store online access to the NHTSA website, tire manufacturer websites or the tire retailer’s website containing the rating information,” RMA stated.

RMA estimates that initial costs for manufacturer testing and reporting would range from $14,657,250 to $53,157,440, while annual costs range from $12,280,322 to $34,745,722. Initial costs for the proposed tire labeling requirements would range from $21,921,745 to $30,641,745, while the annual cost estimates range from $11,543,764 to $16,782,340. RMA said in its comments that NHTSA underestimated industry costs.

“The tire industry has long supported the concept of providing information to consumers about its products at point of sale and welcomes the opportunity to begin providing consumer information about a tire’s contribution to vehicle fuel economy,” RMA said.

# # # #

The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products.

Elastomer Products Group Publishes 8th Edition RMA Hose Handbook

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846
dzielinski@rma.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.August 3, 2009 - The 2009 revision of The RMA Hose Handbook is now available for purchase on the RMA website (www.rma.org). This new edition is provided as a full color electronic file, and includes important updates to reflect current practice for manufacturing methods, design tolerances, couplings, test methods, and general hose application.

The RMA handbook, first published in 1962, is an internationally recognized reference guideline on the selection and use of industrial hose, as prescribed by the member hose manufacturers of the Rubber Manufacturers Association. RMA hose publications are written and maintained by member engineering representatives from Eaton Corporation (Maumee, OH), Gates Corporation (Denver, CO), HBD/Thermoid, Inc. (Dublin, OH), Parker Hannifin Corporation (Cleveland, OH), and Veyance Technologies Inc. (Fairlawn, OH).

Also available at www.rma.org is the complete catalog of RMA technical publications, including other hose specifications and technical bulletins.

# # # #

The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products. RMA members employ over 120,000 workers and account for more than $21 billion in annual sales.

Tire Industry Rolls Out Sixth National Tire Safety Week

Effort Aims to Educate Motorists about Proper Tire Care

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846
dzielinski@rma.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. November 13, 2006 - Tire manufacturers will again be spearheading a week-long effort to educate motorists about proper tire care during the sixth National Tire Safety Week, April 22-28, 2007.

The annual event is an initiative of the Rubber Manufacturers Association’s “Be Tire Smart – Play Your PART” program, a year-round effort designed to help drivers learn the simple steps they can take to ensure that their tires are in good working condition. RMA is the national trade association for tire manufacturers.

“This annual event is becoming more anticipated by the tire industry,” said Dan Zielinski, RMA vice president, communications. “We continue to see increased levels of participation by tire retailers, auto dealers, auto repair facilities and AAA clubs. The event is an opportunity to communicate with customers about the importance tire maintenance plays in vehicle and highway safety.”

Zielinski said that participation in National Tire Safety Week grew from 12,000 retail outlets in 2005 to 15,000 in 2006. Most outlets participate by offering RMA’s “Be Tire Smart” brochures. He also noted that more retailers each year are taking advantage of the opportunity by advertising, holding promotions, free tire pressure checks and conducting media outreach.

“National Tire Safety Week has been a success because of the efforts by thousands of tire retailers, auto dealers, auto repair stations and others,” said Zielinski. “We are grateful that we are able to take advantage of the expertise, experience and enthusiasm of so many people who are knowledgeable about tire care and dedicated to consumer education.”

Partners in the Be Tire Smart program include tire retailers, auto dealers, safety advocates and state government agencies. Among the list of Be Tire Smart partners are: AAA, American Car Care Centers (ACCC), Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), Big 10 Tires, Belle Tire, Big O Tires, Costco, Discount Tire Co., Firestone Complete Auto Care, Goodyear Auto Centers, Kaufman Tire, Les Schwab, Merchant’s Tire, National Tire and Battery (NTB), National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), Northwest Tire, Peerless Tires, Pep Boys, Sears Automotive Centers, STS Tire and Auto Centers, Sullivan Tires, Tire Factory, Tire Industry Association (TIA), Tire Kingdom, Tires Plus, Tire Warehouse, Town Fair Tires, VIP Parts, Tires and Service, and many others.

Tire and auto retailers who are interested in obtaining free RMA materials for National Tire Safety Week can order them online at www.betiresmart.org. Those who have participated in the event before can expect to receive materials again this year.

The Be Tire Smart program is funded by RMA’s tire manufacturer members: Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc., Continental Tire North America, Inc., Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Michelin North America, Pirelli North America, Inc., Toyo Tire North America, and Yokohama Tire Corporation.

# # # #

The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include more than 100 companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products. RMA members employ over 120,000 workers and account for more than $21 billion in annual sales.