Kevin Rohlwing, senior vice president of training for the Tire Industry Association (TIA), participated in the recent Tire Fuel Efficiency (TFE) Workshop. Sponsored by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), the workshop was held Feb. 3, 2012, at the Federal Building in San Francisco, Calif.
The purpose of the workshop was to collect information regarding the new tire rating system on rolling resistance, which is required by the federal Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007. As part of the act, the government is required to establish a Tire Fuel Efficiency Consumer Information Program.
TIA’s presentation, which supported the position of the Rubber Manufacturers Association, focused on several key areas, including tire labeling and rolling resistance coefficient. While the measurement system for rolling resistance is more important to the tire companies, TIA remains strongly opposed to implementing new tire labels as the primary mechanism for the national consumer education campaign.
Rohlwing also emphasized the importance of educating retailers on the new rating system since tire dealers are the primary sources of information for the average car owner in need of tires. New ratings must be simple and easy to explain, unlike the confusing Uniform Tire Quality Grading (UTQG) System, which is supposed to provide consumers with information to compare tire tread wear, traction and performance.
"Proper tire inflation, rotation, alignment, and maintenance are still the most effective and proven methods for improving tire fuel efficiency.”
Rohlwing added that NHTSA’s own research indicates rolling resistance is not an important factor for tire buyers, and as such, will not have a major effect on fuel consumption in the United States.
TIA President Larry Brandt, who has decades of experience in the retail tire market, said TIA "has the experience as well as the network in place to ensure that retailers are properly educated.”