CEC proposes to study low rolling resistance in replacement tires

Aug. 16, 2004

A proposed low rolling resistance tire study sponsored by the California Energy Commission (CEC) could greatly impact the replacement tire market.

The CEC is in the process of selecting a contractor to put the study together. He or she has to have "specific tire expertise to complete tire testing analyses on selected tires being sold in California."

The contractor´s principal goals will be to:

1. establish a useable database regarding rolling resistance and other tire characteristics; and

2. examine the relationships -- if any -- of low rolling resistance tires to other tire characteristics such as longevity, safety and ease of tire recycling.

In October 2001, Senate Bill 1170 authorized the Energy Commission to investigate opportunities for increasing usage of low rolling resistance tires in the state.

California´s governor signed AB844 into law two years later. The bill requires the Energy Commission to develop a comprehensive tire energy efficiency program designed to ensure that replacement tires sold in the state are at least as energy efficient, on average, as the OE tires.

The CEC says original equipment tires are not the focus of the study. They have "significantly lower rolling resistance" because vehicle manufacturers have to follow Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards.

However, according to the proposal, "Replacement tires do not have to meet original equipment fuel efficiency standards, and there is very little information regarding their rolling resistance and their relative fuel economcy characteristics."

The purpose of the work to be done by the contractor "is to collect enough data to enable Commission staff to reach a conclusion about whether low rolling resistance tires compromise longevity, safety or recycling," says the CEC.