With America’s tyre manufacturers and retailers still unhappy with the National Highway Transport and Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) rule-making on TPMS, signs are that Europe too will soon require its new vehicles to be equipped with tyre pressure monitoring systems. To be fair to America’s tyre people, they have not resisted TPMS. Quite the contrary, the argument is over the fact that the mandatory system proposed by the NHTSA would permit up to a 25 per cent air loss before the TPMS warning light would come on. The tyre industry to its credit has argued for a tighter standard than this.
What happens in the US today soon makes it onto Europe’s agenda and TPMS looks like being no exception, with 2012 the probable target date for its introduction on new vehicles. The likelihood is that our own embracing of TPMS will be just as closely linked to emissions reductions targets than to simple driver and road safety. Correct inflation pressures are rightly seen as one of the keys to maintaining optimum fuel efficiency here in the EU. So the two will go hand in hand. However, just as in the US the debate over the exact form of mandatory TPMS to be introduced (continuous or intermittent monitoring), is not yet resolved, nor has the point at which the system’s warning light will kick-in been finally decided. However, given the concern here for fuel efficiency, it should be better than that set by the NHTSA.