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State passes tire bill from Hevesi, Maltese

For drivers trying to save money on gas or make sure that their car is as safe as possible on the road, help should come from a new bill that just passed the state Legislature that focuses on tires.

State Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi's (D-Forest Hills) office said the bill calling for the establishment of efficiency standards for tires can be a boon for motorists. While the auto industry specifies which tire brands and models to use for each car, there is no consumer information organization in the state for the used tire market, which drivers often turn to when they need to replace their vehicle's original tires.

Bald tires or ones that do not properly fit the car can contribute to skidding on wet or ice road surfaces. Tires without proper traction can cause a vehicle to be less fuel-efficient.

Energy-efficient tires offer better fuel economy by minimizing rolling resistance — the measure of energy required to move a tire — with higher resistance, which translates into higher fuel consumption. Up to 80 percent of a car's fuel energy can be wasted by friction and other such losses.

Michelin, in comments to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, estimated that the rolling resistance of replacement tires is on average 22 percent less than that of original equipment tires.

"With the costs of fuel rising and the need for conservation greater than ever before, this legislation will do for tires what the Energy Star program did for electric appliances: allow consumers to make efficient choices and reduce the amount of gas used by drivers," Hevesi said.

State Sen. Serfin Maltese (R-Glendale) sponsored the bill in the Senate.

The Hevesi-Maltese bill directs the state Department of Environmental Conservation to create a tire efficiency program, including a database of the energy efficiency of a representative sample of replacement tires sold in the state, and set up a rating system which will enable consumers to make informed decisions when buying replacement tires. This would be available through signs or point of sale information.

Reach reporter Alex Christodoulides by e-mail at achristodoulides@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.

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