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California Resumes Plans to Regulate Replacement Tires

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In 2021 the California Energy Commission (CEC) plans to implement a replacement tire efficiency program. Its goal is to ensure replacement tires sold in the state are just as energy efficient as the tires installed as original equipment on vehicles.

The rule, which has been in the works since 2003, will apply to replacement tires for passenger cars and light-duty trucks.

Patty Monahan, one of the five commissioners from the state’s energy department, will oversee the proceedings. The commission has the full authority to hold hearings, conduct investigations and collect information as part of its work.

In anticipation of making rules in the spring of 2021 “or thereabouts”, the CEC says it plans to collect data, information and comments from specific and interested stakeholders. Those stakeholders would include, but not be limited to:

  • tire manufacturers,
  • retail tire businesses,
  • tire testing labs,
  • consumer information groups,
  • environmental interest groups,
  • electric utilities, and
  • government agencies.

The data and information the CEC will collect will relate to:

  • sales of tires,
  • cost of tires,
  • efficient technologies,
  • tire safety,
  • tire life,
  • tire recycling,
  • performance testing of low rolling resistant tires sold in markets in North America, Asia and Europe since 2012, which is the last year the CEC conducted its own testing;
  • market research on the ways tire efficiency data could be displayed at points of sale in California, whether in-store or online; and
  • any additional information that relates to tire efficiency, safety or durability that would be needed to develop ratings or standards for fuel efficient tires with low rolling resistance.

California intended for its program to develop alongside federal rulemaking. In December 2015 the U.S. Congress passed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), which set minimum performance standards for passenger car tires. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) initiated rulemaking on the issue, but that work was halted in 2017. Because that federal program has been halted “indefinitely,” California is picking up the pieces of its own program to set standards for tires sold in the state.

How to participate

The CEC plans to set up a couple of resources for interested parties to monitor and participate in the process. The links are scheduled to be activated when the CEC gathers for its next meeting on Nov. 10.

  • One option is to join a "tires" listserv to receive automated emails with details about hearings, workshops and updated documents.
  • The CEC also says it will  set up this website with more information.

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