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Fact Sheet: Increasing Safety and Efficiency while Saving Money at the Pump

December 09, 2014

Administration Announces: NASCAR, Tire Manufactures & Retailers Partner with the Department of Transportation to Raise Awareness about Tire Safety and Take Action to Cut Carbon Pollution and Reduce Our Dependence on Foreign Oil

The Obama Administration is committed to taking responsible steps to promote safety, combat climate change, cut energy waste, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Every year, there are roughly 11,000 tire-related vehicle crashes in the U.S. Many of these crashes can be prevented through proper tire maintenance—including tire inflation, balance, alignment, and rotation—and understanding tire labels, aging, recalls and complaints. Meanwhile, 232 million passenger cars and light trucks in the U.S. consume about 134 billion gallons of fuel each year.

Making smart consumer choices when purchasing tires and maintaining tires properly can cut fuel use and save money at the pump, reducing the carbon pollution that causes climate change. In fact, by enabling a driver to travel farther on a gallon of fuel, proper tire maintenance combined with the use of low rolling resistance tires could save a driver up to $80 per year, and avoid up to 560 pounds of annual carbon dioxide pollution, equivalent to nearly 600 miles of emission-free driving.

Keeping tires properly inflated and choosing low-rolling resistant tires can have a national impact. If 10 million drivers kept their tires properly inflated, they could save nearly $500 million dollars and 1.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution a year. And if just 10 percent of consumers buying aftermarket tires bought tires that were 10 percent more efficient, the annual savings would be more than $200 million and 690,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution.

To minimize the number of tire-related crashes, reduce carbon pollution and save drivers on fuel costs, the Department of Transportation is taking the following actions:

•    Announcing they will set a goal to finalize a rule establishing a tire fuel efficiency consumer information program by 2017 so consumers can identify the most energy efficient tires.

•    Partnering with NASCAR on a Drive for Safety initiative in next year's racing season.

•    Collaborating with tire manufactures, fuel distributors, and tire retailers to kick off a Tire Safety Awareness Month from December 9, 2014 to January 9, 2015.

•    Releasing guide on how to Be TireWise: Save Money at The Pump, Increase Efficiency, and Protect Your Safety available here.


To increase awareness about tire safety and efficiency the Administration and tire manufactures, fuel distributors, and tire retailers are taking the following actions:

Setting a Goal to Finalize a Tire Fuel Efficiency Consumer Information Program in 2017: The Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is developing a tire fuel efficiency consumer information program to help consumers make informed decisions about replacement tire purchases. DOT is working to complete the rulemaking with the goal of a final rule in 2017. Work on this rule will supplement the work that DOT is completing, in collaboration with EPA and the White House, to implement historic fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks -- including an aggressive effort to meet the President's mandate of completing a second round of standards for medium and heavy duty trucks by 2016. The tire fuel efficiency consumer information program targets consumers who are driving on the estimated 141 million tires sold annually that do not already have good rolling resistance. The program is focused on replacement tires because, although automobile manufacturers often equip new passenger cars and light trucks with low rolling resistance tires that are fuel efficient, consumers often replace a vehicle's original tires with higher rolling resistance tires. A key component of the program will be to finalize a rule establishing a tire fuel efficiency consumer information program that will provide consumers with the information necessary to identify which tires are the most efficient. In fact, NHTSA estimates that if just 10 percent of aftermarket passenger car tires were upgraded to tires with a 10 percent improvement in rolling resistance, the annual savings would be more than $200 million from 72 million gallons of fuel and 690,000 metric tons of CO2, equivalent to the emissions from more than 1.6 billion miles of emission-free driving.

Driving for Safety: For more than 10 years, NASCAR and NHTSA have worked together to promote positive traffic safety messages, including the importance of tire safety. This longstanding partnership is fueling the "Drive for Safety" campaign, which aims to promote messages that will keep drivers safe on the road. NHTSA and NASCAR will announce new opportunities to expand their collaboration in the 2015 driving season.

Kicking Off Tire Safety Month: Over the course of the next month, the Administration will initiate an enhanced effort to raise consumer awareness about the common-sense measures we can take to maintain our tires and save money, increase efficiency, and protect drivers across the country. Building on the TireWise campaign, the following manufacturers, retailers, oil and gas companies have committed to partner with DOT to offer free inspections and tire inflation and to raise driver awareness through a number of activities:

Ø Bridgestone Americas commits to supporting Tire Safety Month with free tire inspections at more than 2,200 Bridgestone Retail Operations stores under the brand names of Firestone Complete Auto Care, Tires Plus and Wheels Works; maintaining a website to inform consumers about tire safety and regular tire inspections; and promoting Teens Drive Smart, a hands-on program dedicated to equipping young drivers with knowledge and skills, including proper tire care.

Ø The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company commits to supporting Tire Safety Month with tire care education on its website; offering free inflation pressure services at its more than 600 company-owned retail stores and making tire care information available to new car buyers and when consumers purchase tires at Goodyear dealer and retail locations.

Ø Cooper Tire & Rubber Company commits to supporting Tire Safety Month with information prominently on their website, providing drivers with safety education and maintenance information with every tire purchased, providing a free tire safety kit to those who buy Cooper tires. On social media, Cooper Tire will promote tire care messages targeted to younger drivers and to the blogging community that focuses on assuring that women --and particularly moms--have critical tire safety information.

Ø Michelin North America commits to supporting Tire Safety Month through "Beyond the Driving Test," an initiative designed to increase the awareness among teen drivers of the importance of tire maintenance and safety in all the driver's education instruction programs across the nation. In addition Michelin will alert its dealer networks to support Tire Safety Month and offers tire care information on its web site.

Ø Pirelli Tire North America commits to supporting Tire Safety Month through efforts to notify its dealer networks and to provide consumer tire care information on its website. Pirelli also commits to promoting tire care and safety through the Be Tire Smart-Play Your PART program, an ongoing industry effort by the Rubber Manufacturers Association to educate consumers about proper tire maintenance.

Ø Continental Tire the Americas commits to supporting Tire Safety Month by working with tire dealers to educate them on the proper installation, inflation, and use of tires so that consumers will achieve maximum safety and fuel efficiency benefits from their products. Continental will support Tire Safety Month through consumer safety messages on their Web site and by providing tire maintenance and safety messaging on their social media channels in conjunction with the RMA efforts. Continental offers tire care information on its website.

Ø Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc. commits to supporting Tire Safety Month. Toyo Tires will partner with the Rubber Manufacturers Association to promote the importance of tire inflation pressure as it relates to safety, and encourage consumers to perform routine checks of their tires. Toyo Tires will communicate to our dealers about Tire Safety Month, and offer tire care information through its websites.

Ø Yokohama Tire Corporation commits to supporting Tire Safety Month by emphasizing tire care information on its website and partnering with our communities and tire dealer network.

Ø The Rubber Manufacturers Association, the national trade association for tire manufacturers that produce tires in the U.S., commits to supporting Tire Safety Month by offering tire care information to consumers through its Be Tire Smart-Play Your PART program, providing free downloadable tire care brochures and booklets; alerting 20,000 tire and auto service locations and others who participate in RMA's Be Tire Smart program to support Tire Safety Month; and providing alerts, tips and information on social media networks and media outreach.

Ø The National Association of Convenience Stores will communicate the Tire Safety Month to its 40,000 subscribers of its daily news feed, as well as on its website. It will encourage fuel retailers to consider POS signage, whether at the pump or inside the store, to communicate the initiative. Convenience stores sell an estimated 80% of the fuel purchased in the country. Both NACS and its members will also conduct outreach to the media to further enhance the visibility of the initiative. This effort will include working to identify flagship locations to help encourage other service stations to, over the coming months, find additional opportunities to educate consumers about the importance of tire maintenance, for example, through using pumptoppers, hosetags, or other visible media.

Ø ExxonMobil will increase the visibility of a :30 TV commercial, called "Tires." in national network and cable rotation. The spot communicates the fact that "if every driver in the US kept their tires properly inflated, the US would save up to 4 billion gallons of fuel." In addition to TV, the tire inflation message will be promoted via ExxonMobil social media channels, like Twitter and LinkedIn, to quickly and simply convey the tie between tire inflation and fuel efficiency.

Ø BP, in conjunction with Tire Safety Month, will work to promote safety, savings to consumers and increased energy efficiency. Over the coming months, BP will expand messaging through its retailer website and through its periodic newsletter sent to a database of some 1.8 million consumer-members of the "Driver Rewards" program.

Ø Discount Tire is committing to improving tire safety awareness and fuel efficiency nationwide through several integrated campaigns with national industry partners. Discount Tire will integrate TireWise campaign materials into a public service announcement (PSA) kit including targeted press releases, blogs and other special messaging events; utilize its website to highlight partnership and distribute downloadable PSA kit documents; activate social media around the awareness campaign; utilize in-store locations by displaying awareness information and providing campaign packets including free air gauges and TireWise materials to customers.

Ø commits to supporting Tire Safety Month with information prominently on its website, and providing all drivers who visit with safety education and tire maintenance information. On social media, Tire Rack will promote tire care messages targeted to drivers of all ages and to the blogging community.

Today's actions build on substantial progress to improve fuel economy and increase driver safety, through the following actions:

Launching TireWise: In May 2014, NHTSA launched its TireWise campaign, which provides consumers and retailers with essential information about choosing and caring for tires. The TireWise web site has pages for Tire Buying, Maintenance, Aging, Labeling, and Fuel Efficiency as well as a page for Tire Retailers. The Fuel Efficiency page highlights the benefits of proper tire inflation pressure and low rolling resistance tires.

Accelerating the Use of Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems: All new light vehicles beginning with model year 2008 are required to be equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), which provides a warning to drivers when one or more of a vehicle's tires become significantly underinflated (25% or more below the recommended inflation pressure). Underinflation of tires increases the likelihood of many different types of crashes, including those involving skidding loss of control of the vehicle, and blowouts. NHTSA estimates that TPMS saves about 120 lives each year.

Supporting the Development of Efficient Tire Technology: The Department of Energy's Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) is currently supporting five tire research and development projects focused on improving the fuel economy of cars and trucks up to 4%. These projects total $12M, including a government share of $6M, and support new tire designs with reduced rolling resistance, while maintaining or improving the safety and handling performance of current, state-of-the-art tire designs. Projects include the development of improved tread materials, improved structural designs for lower weight, and tires that maintain proper inflation through decreased leakage or automatic inflation technology.

Highlighting the Benefits of Efficient Tires: EPA's SmartWay Technology program has conducted and published research findings that demonstrate the significant fuel savings achieved by using low rolling resistance tires in heavy-duty trucks. EPA verifies the performance of commercially available low rolling resistance tires for tractor trailer applications as well as other fuel saving technologies. EPA has demonstrated that over three percent fuel savings can be achieved in long haul trucks with low rolling resistance tires compared to ?other popular tires. These savings can even be as high as seven to ten percent when compared to higher rolling resistance tires. EPA also estimates trucks can achieve up to one percent fuel savings benefit by using automatic tire inflation systems. EPA includes information about these technologies as well as other fuel saving information at

Working on the Next Round of Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles: Earlier this year, the President directed the EPA and the DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to develop and issue the next phase of medium- and heavy-duty vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards by March 2016. Under this timeline, the agencies are expected to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) by March 2015. This second round of fuel efficiency standards will build on the first-ever standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (model years 2014 through 2018), which were proposed and finalized by these agencies and will save vehicle owners and operators an estimated $50 billion in fuel costs and save a projected 530 million barrels of oil. The agencies expect that new standards will encourage medium- and heavy-duty vehicle manufacturers to employ lower rolling resistance tires in multiple segments of the next generation of commercial vehicles, from large pickups and vans all the way up to big-rig tractors and trailers.

Leading by Example: The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), which acquires and leases vehicles for Federal fleets, issued guidance in 2008 on tire pressure maintenance. In fact, due to continued efforts to implement measures such as rightsizing the fleet, utilizing alternative fuel vehicles, and ensuring proper tire pressure maintenance, carbon pollution from the entire Federal fleet has decreased by 7.8 percent since 2008. The Department of Defense, with one of the largest Federal fleets requires users to maintain tires at the maximum pressure recommended by the vehicles' manufacturers. For example, the Air Force requires vehicle operators to document tire pressure inspections each month at a minimum. The Navy requires vehicle operators to check tire pressure before using a vehicle and conduct preventive maintenance on vehicles, including tire pressure and tread checks, at least every 3 months, 5,000 miles, or 200 hours of use. Similarly, the Defense Logistics Agency requires vehicle operators to check vehicle equipment, including tire pressure, daily.

Issuing Historic Standards for Passenger Vehicles: In President Obama's first term, he called on the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation to take action to double fuel economy standards by 2025 and cut vehicle greenhouse gas emissions in half. These actions combat climate change and help American families save money - more than $8,000 in fuel costs for each car by 2025. In fact, over the duration of the program, Americans will save a total of $1.7 trillion in fuel costs and reduce oil consumption by more than 2 million barrels per day. And we are on track to roughly double fuel economy by 2025, proving once again that addressing climate change can go hand in hand with strong economic growth.

Barack Obama, Fact Sheet: Increasing Safety and Efficiency while Saving Money at the Pump Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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