From November 2012, tyres sold in the European Union are subject to comulsory tyre labelling.
The EU tyre label provides clear information on the environmental and safety characteristics of a tyre, focusing on three key criteria; fuel efficiency, wet braking, and noise levels.
Understanding these symbols on the tyre label help drivers to make key decisions about greater road safety, reduced pollution, and increased fuel economy.
As you drive down a road your tyres rotate, flexing towards and away from the road surface. This causes energy to be lost. The amount of energy lost depends on the rolling resistance of the tyre.
The most energy efficient tyres have a low rolling resistance. This means that less energy -- and therefore less fuel -- is required to move the vehicle.
Since tyres can account for between 20% to 30% of a vehicle's fuel consumption, choosing new tyres which are energy efficient will directly result in fuel cost savings.
The tyre labelling features easy-to-understand pictograms which provide information on three essential aspects of a tyre's performance.
Secure grip in wet conditions is critical for safe driving. The Wet Grip rating tells you how well the tyre performs in wet conditions. Performance is graded into classes A to G (although D and G are not currently used). The difference in stopping distance between a class A tyre and a class F tyre can be as great as 18 metres.
Depending on the tyre's rolling resistance, its fuel efficiency will range from class A tyres -- which deliver the best fuel economy -- with each subsequent class through to G increasing fuel consumption by between 0.42 and 0.56 mpg for a car which does 36 mpg.
This is the external rolling noise generated by the tyre and is measured in decibels. The number of filled bars on on the label equates to the noise level of the tyres.
Choosing energy efficient tyres will lower your fuel costs. For example, switching from Class G tyres to Class A tyres can reduce fuel consumption by up to 9%.
If your vehicle has a fuel consumption of 8 l/100km and you cover 65,000 km on new tyres, this equates to a fuel saving of up to 440 litres over the lifetime of the tyres. With a fuel price of €1.50 per litre, this equates to a cost saving of €660 over the lifetime of the tyres.
You can calculate how much fuel you could save by choosing energy efficient tyres with this fuel savings calculator.
Just keep in mind that the additional purchasing costs of energy efficient tyres may be compensated by the fuel savings, resulting in overall total savings over time.
Actual fuel efficiency and road safety depends greatly on the behaviour of the motorist. In particular, consider the following factors:
Please consult the EU Tyre Label section on the official EU Commission website.