Currently, tire manufacturers can use their own criteria for rating their tires which can lead to buyer confusion. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is worried that consumers might not be able to easily pick the best tire for their needs. To remedy that situation, NHTSA is proposing a new, consumer-friendly replacement tire label which would include, for the first time, information about the tire’s impact on fuel economy and CO2 emission reductions.
“Today’s proposal takes the guesswork out of buying the best tires for your vehicle,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Our proposal would let consumers look at a single label and compare a tire’s overall performance as it relates to fuel economy, safety and durability.”
Based on the criteria shown on the proposed label, sticky performance tires may draw the short straw. For example, summer tires aren’t the best in rainy conditions, aren’t particularly durable and because of the soft compounds used and have a higher rolling resistance which yields lower fuel economy. These characteristics would yield a tire report card that would make any parent weep.
Perhaps a fairer system could be devised where tires were rated based on their class. Shading each tire class’ label a different color could prevent an all season, 80,000 mile tire from being compared to a summer only, high performance tire.