30 June 2015

In October last year, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) launched an approval mark for tyres.  Using criteria developed in partnership with the New Zealand tyre industry, ENERGYWISE approved tyres must meet minimum criteria for both fuel efficiency and braking in the wet. There are tyre labelling schemes in Japan, Korea and the EU but the New Zealand scheme is an international first in terms of a simple approval mark rather than a complex label. Research conducted by Ipsos for EECA showed that the majority of New Zealanders do not place a huge level of importance in the choice of tyres they buy for their cars, despite the impact tyres have on a car’s safety and its fuel efficiency. EECA’s Fuel Efficient Tyre Programme aims to change that, and realise energy efficiency and carbon reduction benefits through increased sales of fuel efficient tyres. More than half of NZ tyre distributors have now joined as programme partners, with more than 300 ENERGYWISE approved tyres registered with the programme as at June 2015. The marketing campaign for ENERGYWISE approved tyres includes television and digital advertising, as well as partner advertising using the approval mark. EECA also has a web tool available at www.energywise.govt.nz/tools/fuel-efficient-tyres which makes it easy to find ENERGYWISE approved tyres suitable for most cars registered in NZ. While it is too early to assess the programme’s effectiveness in shifting the market overall, tyre dealers tell EECA that the approval mark is making it easier to sell fuel efficient tyres: “There’s been a lot of scepticism around the actual savings possible with fuel-efficient tyres, so it was great to have those claims substantiated through independent testing.” “The EECA [approval mark] is hot to trot at the moment which is why we’ve just changed our marketing to ensure people know we stock ENERGYWISE approved tyres.” Partners supply tyre sales data monthly so the impact of the programme can be monitored. EECA is also conducting compliance check testing with over 100 tyres currently being shipped to Spain for testing at an independent “reference” laboratory to check claimed wet grip and rolling resistance performance against the EECA standards. For more information, visit the energywise website.