Tire Tech

European Union Tire Labeling Regulation

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European Union (EU) tire labeling regulations for passenger car and light truck tires went into effect November 1, 2012. These regulations help harmonize consumer information on a new tire's wet braking ability and environmental impact related to the tire's contribution to vehicle efficiency and pass-by noise.

The graphics and rating bins* used on the EU tire label are familiar to European consumers as they are already used for new cars and household appliances.

Fuel Efficiency

From A (most efficient) to G (least efficient)

Rolling resistance is a tire attribute that can affect a vehicle's energy consumption. The lower the tire rolling resistance, the less energy required to drive the vehicle. For gasoline-powered vehicles, lower rolling resistance also results in a reduction of CO2 gasses emitted in their exhaust.

The difference in energy consumption between new A-rated and G-rated tires could be as much as 7.5%. Replacing G-rated tires with A-rated tires would reduce the cost of driving by $93.57 per year for a gasoline-powered, 30-mpg vehicle driven 15,000 miles annually with gasoline costs of $2.50 per U.S. gallon.

While the performance gaps are proven, individual results can vary with type of vehicle, climatic conditions and driving habits.

Wet Grip

From A (best) to G (worst)

Wet braking capabilities are an important element of a tire's performance, essential for accident avoidance and occupant safety.

The difference in braking distance between new A-rated and G-rated tires could be as much as 30%. For a passenger car travelling at 50 mph (80kph), that can mean up to 85 foot (18m) shorter stopping distance in the case of full braking in wet-weather conditions.

Exterior Noise

From 1 wave (quietest) to 3 waves (noisiest) & decibel (dB) level

Exterior tire noise is measured in decibels (dB) and compared with European tire pass-by noise levels introduced in 2016.

Noise levels are established by size, with narrower tires challenged by lower targets than wider tires. While the dB level is quantifiable, the tire's ability to comply with EU regulations (number of sound waves) can only be compared between tires of the same size.

1 black sound wave: 3dB or more below the European requirement

2 black sound waves: Between the European requirement and 3dB below

3 black sound waves: Above the European target

A tire rated one wave is half as noisy as a tire rated with two waves. Pass-by noise is measured from the sides of the road with a vehicle traveling 50 mph (80kph) with the engine switched off.

Which Tire Categories are Rated?

Labeling regulation applies to:

  • Passenger car tires (European C1 tires)
  • Light commercial vehicle tires (European C2 tires)
  • Heavy commercial vehicle tires (European C3 tires)

The following tire categories are excluded from the regulation's scope:

  • Tires with nominal rim diameters of 254 mm (10") or smaller.
  • Tires with nominal rim diameters of 635 mm (25") or greater.
  • Professional off-road tires (branded POR)
  • Racing tires
  • Retreaded tires
  • Studded winter tires
  • Temporary spare tires

Other Considerations

While the EU label provides quantifiable ratings regarding the three required criteria, there are many other important tire performance factors for drivers to consider, including:

  • Braking performance on dry roads
  • Handling and steering precision
  • Driving stability
  • Resistance to hydroplaning
  • Traction in winter conditions
  • Durability
  • Wear life

Always consider all tire characteristics that will help you to select the tires that best meet your driving needs.

*Not all of the rating bins are used for tires. The above examples are based on the European Commission's Impact Assessment when measured according to the test methods set out in Regulation EC 1222/2009.

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