All tires sold in the European Union are subject to mandatory tire labelling. A new EU tire labelling scheme – effective from May 1, 2021 – provides more comprehensive information about selected tires and also covers heavy-duty vehicle tires. It provides objective, reliable and comparable information based on three important tire performance characteristics: rolling resistance – and thus fuel efficiency –, wet grip and external rolling noise. Additional pictograms indicate the tire's suitability for severe snow conditions (3PMSF symbol) and/or its grip in icy conditions, although the latter applies to passenger car tires only.
The new labelling scheme covers passenger car, bus and truck tires. For further details on the new EU tire labelling regulation please visit the official EU Commission website.
Understanding the EU label and its pictograms helps drivers or fleet managers to make informed decisions about tire-related road safety, lower CO2 emissions, and greater fuel economy.
Please note that fuel savings and road safety are largely dependent on road and weather conditions, the vehicle type, and, in particular, the style of driving.
1. Wet grip
Secure grip in wet conditions is crucial for safe driving. The wet grip rating indicates how well the tire will perform in wet conditions, with performance graded from class A down to E. A high grade means short braking distances on wet roads.
2. Fuel efficiency
Depending on the tire’s rolling resistance, its fuel efficiency will range from class A (denoting the best fuel economy) all the way down to class E. Fuel consumption plays an important role from an economic and ecological point of view. This is because low fuel consumption has a positive effect on the carbon footprint of the vehicle, and of heavy-duty vehicles in particular.
3. Noise level
This is the external rolling noise generated by the tire, measured in decibels. The label shows the noise level rated in classes from A down to C.
In addition to the standard label, there are also pictograms − if applicable − relating to performance in severe snow conditions (3PMSF) and/or grip in icy conditions (passenger car/C1 tires only).
The snow grip pictogram (3PMSF) will be shown for winter and all-season tires tested under defined winter conditions and that deliver the required severe snow performance.
The ice grip pictogram will be shown for winter tires with outstanding ice performance confirmed by a defined ice grip test. These tires are specifically designed for road surfaces covered with ice and compact snow, and should only be used in very severe climate conditions (e.g. cold temperatures in the Nordics). Using ice grip tires in less severe climate conditions (e.g. wet conditions or warmer winter temperatures) could result in suboptimal performance, in particular for wet grip, handling and wear.
How is rolling resistance linked to fuel efficiency?
As your tires rotate, they also flex towards and away from the surface of the road, leading to a loss of energy. The amount of energy lost correlates with the rolling resistance of the tire.
Tires with low rolling resistance are the most energy efficient. That means it takes less power – and therefore less fuel – to move the vehicle.
Since tires can account for between 20% and 30% of a vehicle’s fuel consumption, choosing new tires that are energy efficient will result in direct fuel cost savings.
Tips for efficient driving
For improved fuel efficiency and greater road safety consider the following factors:
- Environmentally aware driving can reduce fuel consumption significantly;
- Check your tire pressures regularly; low pressure increases fuel consumption and affects braking performance;
- Always maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front;
- Check for signs of uneven wear on the tires, especially along the edges of the front tires. Uneven wear could indicate a tracking or suspension problem that could increase fuel consumption and cause your tires to wear more quickly;
- Avoid harsh acceleration and deceleration; this increases both fuel consumption and tire wear;
- Follow the vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations;
- Extra weight increases fuel consumption; regularly clear out non-essential items from your car.
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