More tyre label information needed, comments EU parliamentarian
Tomorrow, Lanxess will officially inaugurate its expanded butyl rubber facility in Zwijndrecht, Belgium. One of the guests at the ceremony will be Belgian European parliament member Ivo Belet. Ahead of the opening ceremony, Belet shared his views on the European tyre label, an issue closely linked to eco-friendly, or green tyres – a key beneficiary of the increased butyl rubber output in Zwijndrecht.
“As Rapporteur, it was my job to get the (European tyre label) proposal through the European Parliament,” he commented. “You have to secure a majority, first in the Industry and Energy Committee and then in a plenary session of the European Parliament. Some people felt that it wasn’t necessary to put a sticker on every tyre, but we definitely wanted to avoid a situation in which the dealers would have to put the labels on themselves. Manufacturers are therefore required to make sure that they provide adequate labelling.”
The label’s introduction is now only half a year away, and Belet believes consumer awareness is still an issue: “We also think that the European Commission needs to provide more information about the label. Consumers can now use an online calculator to work out how much fuel they can save with fuel-saving tyres…At the moment the average motorist is not really aware of the fact that his or her choice of tyres has an influence on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. This is now going to change.”
Ivo Belet opines that time is needed for motorists to come to terms with the label – car tyres are not replaced every year, he noted. “For this reason we have asked the Commission to carry out an evaluation of the scheme after three years. One of the things that the Commission will have to look at is to what extent the labelling system is known to consumers. The fact that this label is similar to those used on fridges and domestic appliances is definitely an advantage. Consumers will find it easier to recognise. On the other hand, having to decide between the relative advantages of more economical fuel consumption and shorter breaking distances makes things a bit more difficult for the consumer.”
When asked if he anticipates further changes to the tyre labelling scheme’s legislative framework in the near future, Belet answered “most definitely: when it carries out its evaluation after three years, the Commission will have to make a full report to the European Parliament and, if necessary, this will have to be accompanied by proposed amendments.
“The Commission has in any case been instructed to amend the proposal in line with possible technical advances,” he added. “For example, at present, it is still not possible to find tyres that meet both criteria (fuel consumption and wet grip) in category A, but, if this situation changes in the near future, we will need to look again at the categories.”
Belet also said he would consider the labelling scheme a success if, after a few years, it is necessary to “re-think the categories because the market and consumers have taken it on board and have thus clearly opted to buy fuel-saving tyres for their cars.”