The tyre label

The European tyre label has been mandatory for new tyres since 1 November 2012 and applies to passenger vehicles as well as light and heavy industrial vehicles.

All new tyres are issued with a label, which represents a performance index in 3 sectors. One of the characteristics expressed by the tyre label (or sticker on tyres for passenger vehicles and light trucks) is rolling resistance (= fuel consumption). These categories range from A (low) to G (high). The tyre label also features information about grip on wet road surfaces (= safety), which is also categorised from A to G, and the external noise created by the tyre, expressed as a certain value. The label allows users to select efficient and safe tyres based on fuel consumption, grip and environmental burden.

What do the icons mean?

The tyre label is based on a European directive aimed at improving road safety, reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, and reducing noise produced by road-based traffic. What do the three icons mean:

20150121-Rolling-resistance.jpg Rolling resistance

There are 7 classes (A to G), which indicate a difference of 7.5% between the highest (A) and the lowest (G) class. There is thus a difference of 7.5% in fuel efficiency between A and G because each of the categories has a particular rolling resistance. The efficiency potential per class is between 0.10 and 0.15 l/100 km. *

20150121-Wet_grip.jpg Grip on wet road surfaces

There are 7 classes (A to G) representing a difference of ≥ 30% in braking distance between A and G. This amounts to ≥ 18m at 80 km/h. The difference between A and B is 3 to 4m; 4 to 5m from B to C; 5 to 6m from C to E and over 6m from E to F; categories D and G are not used.

20150121-Sound.jpg External rolling noise

Noise production is represented using 3 ‘waves’. 3 waves = 2001/43: current norm; 2 waves = 661/2009: between the future norm (2016) and 3dB below it; 1 wave = over 3 dB below the future norm. **

* Tyres must comply with minimum performance limits in order to be permitted to the European market. No longer permitted since 1-11-2014: tyres with a Rolling resistance of G and a Grip on wet road surfaces of F.
Exceptions:

  • o Renewed tyres.
  • o Professional off-road tyres.
  • o Tyres only designed for assembly on vehicles registered for the first time before 1-10-1990.
  • o T reserve wheels for temporary use.
  • o Tyres for speed category under 80 km/h.
  • o Tyres with a nominal rim diameter of maximum 254 mm (10 inches) or minimum 635 mm (25 inches).
  • o Tyres with features that improve traction (e.g. studded tyres).
  • o Tyres only designed for assembly on vehicles used solely for racing purposes.

** Passenger vehicle tyres: norm per section (classes); tyres for vans and trucks: norm per category.

Save money with ‘green’ tyres

The better the label (thus lower classifications), the greater the efficiency benefits in practice. The German institute TüV supervised practical research at synthetic rubber manufacturer Lanxess, which led to some surprising conclusions. For instance, a tanker featuring ‘green’ B-label tyres realised a saving of 8.5%, over a distance of 40,000 km, compared to an identical tanker featuring standard tyres from category D.

Example demonstrating benefits for transport companies:
Here is a sample calculation: a transport company with a fleet containing 300 40-tonne trucks, featuring tyres with a rolling resistance of D on the European tyre label, will be able to save 1.5 million euros in fuel per year by selecting tyres with a B label. Assumption: each vehicle drives 150,000 kilometres per year and fuel costs 1.40 euros per litre. In this example, the reduction in CO2 would amount to over 3,000 tonnes per year.

What is the main purchasing criterion?

Fleet managers and owners of transport companies often base their purchases on

  1. life-span in kilometres;
  2. price and
  3. rolling resistance.

In terms of a company's overall efficiency, it can be more beneficial to select slightly more expensive tyres with a lower (= better) label instead of cheaper tyres.