Tyre Labelling

Understanding Tyre Labelling: Fuel Efficiency, Wet Grip, and Noise Ratings

In an effort to mitigate environmental impact and enhance road safety, the EU implemented a regulation effective November 1, 2012, requiring all new tyres for cars, vans, 4x4s, and most trucks to feature standardised labels. These labels, akin to energy labels for household appliances, highlight three crucial aspects: fuel efficiency, wet grip performance, and external rolling noise. Utilising clear pictograms and a ranking scale from A (best) to E/F/G (worst), these labels empower motorists to make informed tyre choices regardless of brand or tread pattern. Certain tyre types, such as temporary use, off-road, racing, vintage car, and retread tyres, are exempt from this regulation. This regulation has significantly contributed to advancing transparency and consumer awareness in the tyre labelling landscape.

Tyre Efficiency Indicator

The European tyre labelling serves to offer transparent insights into a tyre’s performance, focusing on three primary criteria assessed in new tyres:

Understanding a tyre’s position across these metrics empowers informed comparisons prior to purchase. Opting for a highly ranked tyre can enhance fuel efficiency, save costs, and ensure elevated levels of safety and comfort. This emphasis on tyre labelling facilitates smarter purchasing decisions, aligning with environmental sustainability and road safety initiatives.

Tyres play a significant role in a vehicle’s fuel consumption, typically accounting for 20% to 30% of the total usage. This is primarily due to the energy expended as a tyre rolls. When a tyre has lower rolling resistance, it requires less energy to maintain movement, resulting in improved fuel efficiency. Consequently, vehicles equipped with tyres boasting reduced rolling resistance tend to consume less fuel and emit fewer CO2 emissions, contributing positively to environmental sustainability and fuel economy.

Tyre Fuel Efficiency

This category delves into the pivotal role tyres play in influencing both fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions within the automotive realm, as highlighted by tyre labelling regulations.

How does it work?

Tyres exert a substantial impact on a vehicle’s fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions primarily through their rolling resistance—the energy required to maintain forward motion. Remarkably, tyres contribute to approximately 20% of a vehicle’s total fuel consumption. By selecting tyres engineered with lower rolling resistance, drivers can markedly curtail their fuel consumption, consequently mitigating CO2 emissions. This underscores the critical importance of tyre selection in fostering eco-friendly driving practices and reducing environmental footprint, in line with tyre labelling standards.

How is it measured?

The assessment of rolling resistance is meticulously conducted using specialised simulation machinery, in compliance with tyre labelling standards. This sophisticated equipment meticulously evaluates a tyre’s performance, providing invaluable insights into its ability to minimise energy dissipation during rotation. Through precise measurement techniques, motorists can make informed decisions, selecting tyres optimised for enhanced fuel efficiency and reduced environmental impact. This adherence to standardised testing ensures transparency and reliability in tyre labelling information, empowering consumers to make eco-conscious choices.

External Tyre Noise Rating 

How does it work? 

Tyre noise, a significant source of environmental pollution, is assessed in decibels outside the vehicle. The grading system, denoted by letters A, B, or C, replaces the previous three-wave system. Notably, at speeds of 80 km/h, tyre noise can surpass that of the engine. Therefore, selecting tyres with lower noise levels is essential for enhancing the overall driving experience and minimising environmental impact. This emphasis on noise reduction underscores the importance of informed tyre choices aligned with tyre labelling standards.

The incorporation of external rolling noise as a pivotal factor in evaluating tyre performance aims to incentivise motorists to opt for low-noise tyres, effectively mitigating noise pollution. Using specialised microphones, the rolling noise emitted by a car travelling at 50 mph with the engine off is meticulously measured, providing results in decibels for each tyre variant. This emphasis on noise reduction underscores a commitment to enhancing driving comfort and minimising environmental noise disturbances, highlighting the importance of selecting tyres aligned with tyre labelling standards for a quieter and more sustainable driving experience.

Wet grip performance, as highlighted by tyre labelling, stands as a cornerstone of tyre safety. Tyres exhibiting superior wet grip capabilities demonstrate shorter braking distances on wet surfaces, crucial for accident prevention. Testing involves two methods to assess a tyre’s grip during wet braking from 50 mph. These results are amalgamated and reflected in the tyre label rankings. Each grade correlates to a disparity in braking distance of around 3 metres. Consequently, opting for tyres ranked A, as indicated by tyre labelling, could potentially outshine lower-ranked counterparts by up to 15 metres in wet braking scenarios, significantly reducing the likelihood of road traffic accidents.


The left segment of the label signifies the tyre’s wet braking performance.

How does it work? 

As highlighted by tyre labelling standards, the tyre assumes a critical role as the sole point of contact with the road, ensuring safety. Its primary function is to provide reliable traction across diverse weather and surface conditions. At speeds of 80 km/h, the tyre has less than 1 millisecond to execute crucial manoeuvres such as guiding the vehicle, accelerating, or braking, underscoring the importance of selecting tyres optimised for performance and safety.

How is it measured? 

Wet braking performance is assessed on a vehicle under specific conditions outlined by European Regulation, encompassing variables like speed, track types, water depth, and temperature. The grading is determined by comparing the tested tyre’s performance against that of a standardised reference tyre, offering valuable insights into its wet braking capabilities and overall safety performance.

Snow Grip

Tyres adorned with the Three Peak Mountain Snowflake symbol are meticulously crafted to excel in demanding snow conditions. Rigorously tested in compliance with UNECE Regulation No 117, these tyres offer optimal performance and safety assurance, ensuring confidence and traction when navigating severe winter landscapes.

Ice Grip

Tyres featuring the Ice Stalagmite symbol, as emphasised by tyre labelling standards, are meticulously engineered for unparalleled performance on ice-covered and compact snow-laden road surfaces. Tailored for extremely harsh climatic conditions, such as frigid temperatures, these tyres offer exceptional grip and control. However, it’s crucial to note, according to tyre labelling guidelines, that utilising ice grip tyres in milder conditions, like wet or warmer temperatures, may lead to compromised performance in wet grip, handling, and durability. Thus, it’s recommended to reserve these specialised tyres for severe winter conditions to ensure optimal safety and performance on icy roads, aligning with tyre labelling recommendations.

172 euros* is the reduction in Fuel costs for a vehicle fitted with A-rated tyres compared with one equipped with E-rated tyres.

9 meters is the reduction in braking distance for a vehicle travelling at 80 km/h** and equipped with A-rated tyres compared with one fitted with D-rated tyres.

An A-rated tyre is half noisy than a B-rated tyre.***

* Based on savings of 150 litres of fuel over 40,000km at 1.15€ per litre (weighted average). The effect may change depending on the vehicle and driving conditions. Performance measured in accordance with the test method set in the regulation UN ECE R117. 

** Performance of braking from 80 km/h to 20 km/h, measured in accordance with the test method set in the regulation UN ECE R117. 

*** Noise is measured on a vehicle travelling at 80 km/h with the engine switched off, measured in accordance with the test method set in the regulation UN ECE R1. Technical information on this page by kind permission of Michelin Tyre PLC.

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