From the 1st of November 2012, a new EU ruling has been enforced where, all new tyres sold have to have an informative sticker which states their turning resistance, braking ability on wet roads and noise level.
The sticker is similar to the one on white goods, which is divided into three sections for safety and efficiency. Some manufactures are happy with the new ruling but other feel that some important information has been left off such as the tyres resistance to aquaplaning, wet handling or dry braking and traction.
How to read the labels.
The first part is the fuel efficiency associated to the tyres rolling resistance which is indicated by a tyre and petrol pump sign; this indicates the effect the tyre has on the vehicles consumption. Considering that tyres contribute up to 20% of the overall fuel consumption for a car it is important to reach low Rolling Resistance values.
In the EU tyre Regulation label, rolling resistance is expressed in grades, ranging from A (best) to F for industrial vehicles and G for cars (worst grading).The classification is done via an alphabet scale from A to G and a colour scale from red to green, although the D classification is not used on cars. An A rated green tyre is the most fuel efficient tyre and the G rated red tyre is the least fuel efficient tyre. In terms of consumption an A rated tyre compared to a G rated tyre could save 7.5% consumption which equates to 6 litres of petrol for every 1000 kilometres.
The second part is the wet handling indication which is indicated by a tyre and a rain cloud. Wet braking is one of the most important characteristics of tyres as it translates to shorter braking distances. The higher the rating the less distance required to stop the vehicle on a wet road. The classification is again done via an alphabet scale from A to F, although D and G classifications are not used on cars. Calculations indicate that the difference between each letter is around a 30% braking distance. An example would be that an A rated tyre can stop the car 18 meters before an F rated tyre.
All of these parts obviously also indicate a difference in price and quality of the tyre so the higher the rating the more expensive the tyre but sometimes it is worth the extra money for the safety and the fuel consumption.