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White House to review NHTSA proposal for consumer information program for tires  

Monday, October 24, 2016

Washington, D.C. - A long awaited National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rule to provide consumers with information about tire fuel efficiency, wet traction and tread wear is now under review by the White House. The rule, required by 2007 federal energy legislation, will create a tire performance rating system to help inform consumers’ tire purchasing decisions. The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) advocated for the legislative provision in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The White House Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OMB/OIRA) is responsible for reviewing all significant federal agency rule-makings. NHTSA proposed its first draft of the consumer information regulation in 2009, but went back to the drawing board in response to public comments that the proposal would have been ineffective in educating consumers or driving consumer choice. RMA encouraged the Agency to develop a five-category rating system that would provide consumers with meaningful purchasing choices for replacement tires, and supported its recommendations with significant data, consumer research and economic analyses. In 2010 and 2011, NHTSA conducted consumer research, which favored a five-category rating system for tire fuel efficiency, wet traction and tread wear. “Throughout the regulatory process, our goal has been a final rule that will provide consumers with clear, meaningful information to aid their tire purchasing decisions,” said Anne Forristall Luke, RMA president and CEO. “Equally important to RMA members, an effective consumer information rule will be a major step toward implementing other regulations required under last year’s federal highway legislation to establish minimum performance standards for tire rolling resistance and wet traction.” RMA successfully advocated for tire rolling resistance and wet traction standards in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act in 2015. When implemented, a tire that fails to meet the new standards will not be able to be sold in the U.S. “We look forward to meeting with OIRA to convey our views about how this rule will be a useful consumer tool,” Luke said. “RMA has worked with NHTSA to provide expertise and data to assist the agency to craft a meaningful rule, and we are eager to see an effective proposal implemented.” OIRA has up to 90 days to review NHTSA’s proposal unless the agencies agree that more time for coordination is needed. The review should be completed by January 14, 2017. If no changes are required by OIRA, the proposed rule will be published and open to public comment for 60 days. The content of the proposed rule will not be known until it is published in the Federal Register after OIRA’s review.


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