When you first purchase a new tyre, you may have noticed a label with a European Union emblem (a circle of twelve five-pointed golden stars on a blue field) affixed to the tyre. This label provides information on the environmental and safety characteristics of a tyre, indicated by the tyre’s performance in fuel efficiency, braking in the wet, and exterior noise levels.
The updated EU tyre label
Recently, this label was updated as part of the European Commission’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions while helping vehicle owners compare a tyre’s features and performance. Consumers can more easily make informed choices with safety, fuel economy, and carbon footprint in mind.
The new EU tyre label creates a standard for rolling resistance (fuel efficiency), wet grip, and noise emission.
Reducing a tyre’s rolling resistance makes it roll further with less fuel. Rolling resistance significantly influences a car’s fuel consumption, so a lower roll resistance means better fuel efficiency. Lower fuel consumption not only means motorists save money but also less C02 emissions into the atmosphere.
Fuel efficiency is rated on a colour-coded scale from A to G
- A (green)= less rolling resistance, low consumption, highest fuel efficiency
- G (red)= more rolling resistance, higher consumption, lower efficiency
Note: Rating D is not used for passenger cars
On average, between classes, fuel consumption increases by approximately 0.1 litre for every 96 km driven. For example, a 1000 km journey on a C-rated tyre uses 1.2 litres more fuel than on a tyre rated B. Between A and G class tyres, the difference in fuel consumption is up to 7.5%
Note: Rolling resistance increases with improper tyre inflation, and affects grip in wet conditions.
Read more about Rolling Resistance
Tyre grip in wet conditions is one of the most crucial requirements for safety on the road. The EU rating focuses on a tyre’s braking performance in the wet, and is rated from class A to G. (Note: There are only five classes for wet grip as D and G are not in use for passenger cars.) The higher the rating, the better the performance.
A passenger car travels at a speed of 80 kph with the following tyre ratings:
- Class A – stops in the shortest distance of 28 metres
- Class B – stopping distance is increased by 3 metres
- Class C – stopping distance is increased by another 4 metres
- Class E – stopping distance is increased by another 5 metres
- Class F – stopping distance is increased by another 6 metres
To further illustrate:
- A = Highest rating (Short braking distance on wet roads)
Assuming a passenger car travels at 80 kph, braking at this speed, a class ‘A’ tyre will come to a stop in wet conditions after 28 metres.
- F = Lowest rating(Longest braking distance on wet roads)
The same passenger car travelling at the same speed with a class ‘F’ tyre requires 46.5 metres to come to a stop – over 18 metres more than an ‘A’ class tyre.
The difference in braking distance can vary by 5 to 10 metres between each class. In an emergency situation, every metre counts. From a safety point of view, opting for a higher-class tyre could make the difference of avoiding an accident.
Read more: What affects stopping distances?
What is the role of brakes in stopping distances?
Noise emission level
As you drive, the car’s tyres generate external rolling noise which contributes to noise pollution. This noise is measured in decibels (dB).
The EU label illustrates three sound waves in increasing size and a decibel value to the right of it. The number of black sound waves indicates the noise level of the tyre.
- One sound wave – Low noise, up to 68 dB
- Two sound waves – Moderate, between 69 and 71 dB
- Three sound waves – High noise, between 72 and 74 dB
Noise scales are logarithmic and an increase of just a few decibels represents a big difference in noise levels. Therefore, just 3 dB more translates into about double the external noise a tyre produces.
Before buying new tyres, you should familiarise yourself with a tyre’s symbols on its sidewall along with checking the EU ratings.
Choosing tyres with a high fuel efficiency rating will allow you to drive for longer on a tank of fuel, as well as lower your carbon footprint. Choosing tyres with an A or B wet grip rating will make driving in rainy conditions much safer. And choosing tyres with lower decibel levels will make your ride quieter, as well as have less impact on environmental noise pollution.
When it’s time to replace your worn or damaged tyres, visit a Supa Quick service centre for your car, SUV, or 4x4. We stock Bridgestone, Pirelli, Cooper Tires, and more. Each brand carries comprehensive cover against all manufacturing defects.
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