From 12 November this year tyre manufacturers must display labels providing information on fuel efficiency, noise and braking performance.
The move is part of an attempt to raise awareness of issues of safety and efficiency when it comes to tyres, and the system will ape the graduated colour scale seen on white goods such as fridges.
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Tyres will be given a rating between A and G in two of the criteria; fuel efficiency and wet performance.
In the case of the former the labels will show which are the best tyres for fuel efficiency, with the difference between the best-rated and worst-rated tyres up to 7.5 per cent. Tyre manufacturers sell tyres specifically designed to save fuel, such as the Michelin Energy Saver+ range, whereas performance-orientated tyres and run-flat tyres may offer inferior fuel economy.
In the case of the latter the scale relates to the performance of the tyre in wet braking conditions. Again, the difference can be significant between the best- an worst-rated tyres - potentially up to 30 per cent. That can translate to a difference of 18 metres in a car travelling at 50mph
In the third category, noise is represented by a decibel rating and a rating out of three - represented as sound waves. This noise represents the exterior rolling noise without any engine noise and is intended to represent the noise pollution from specific tyres.
The new ratings are designed to give consumers more information as to how different tyres can save fuel and offer significant safety benefits. While the ratings are not explicitly aimed at combatting the rise of cheap tyres, which are often less safe than premium makes, the move is likely to educate drivers as to the potential benefits of choosing more expensive rubber.
Tyre retailers will have to ensure that labels are clearly visible when the regulations come into force this November, while most premium tyre manufacturers are expected to apply stickers directly to tyres.
Michelin says its dealers will be expected to offer more technical detail that go beyond the expectations of customers. The tyre manufacturer says that all of its summer tyres on sale since 2010 are A-rated for wet grip performance, while all of its core ranges are rated in the 'green' zone of the fuel efficiency band.
Michelin says that its tyres offer a balance of performance beyond tyre labelling and offer the best mix of performance in terms of longevity, safety and fuel efficiency.