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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 22, 2005

New Fuel Efficient Tires Could Save Upstate New Yorkers $225 Million, Conserve Fuel, And Reduce U.S. Dependency On Foreign Oil – Schumer Introduces Amendment To Energy Bill

As Crude Oil Prices Hit All-Time Highs, Schumer Unveils Measure Mandating All Replacement Tires Must Be More Efficient

With Energy Bill Slated For Vote This Week, Schumer Touts New Tire Technology That Cuts Reliance on Foreign Oil and Saves Money at the Pump

Schumer Details Gallons and Dollars Saved In Each County: Drivers in Capital Region Would Save $23 million; Central

With the Energy Bill being debated on the floor the U.S. Senate, Senator Charles E. Schumer unveiled a new measure requiring the federal government to establish efficiency standards for the replacement tires that drivers buy when the old tires wear out. Most current replacement tires are between 20 and 60 percent less efficient than the original tires automakers equip cars with to help meet federal fuel economy standards. Schumer introduced a amendment to the Energy Bill, currently being debated on the floor of the Senate.

“This is a win, win, win situation: not only do we conserve fuel, but we reduce our dependency on foreign oil, and drivers save at the pump,” Schumer said. “If New Yorkers knew they could invest an extra few dollars in a set of tires and then save a lot more at the gas pump, they'd jump at the opportunity. Unfortunately, there aren't enough of these tires, and the ones that are on the market are tough to find. But if fuel efficient tires are good enough when you buy a new car, they should be good enough when its time to replace those tires down the road.”

Schumer released data showing that for an extra $5 to $12 per set of replacement tires, the average motorist can reduce his or her gasoline consumption by 1.5 to 4.5 percent, saving $50-$150 over the life of the tires. According to the National Resources Defense Council, the United States could save 360,000 barrels of oil a day by the year 2015 if all replacement tires were as efficient as the originals. In New York alone, efficient replacement tires would save 150 million gallons of gasoline and $240 million a year. Savings nationwide would total between $2.5 and $7.5 billion a year, according to Green Seal Environmental Partners, an independent, non-profit organization that produces Consumer ReportsTM -like investigations into the environmental friendliness of consumer products.

Schumer today released a study demonstrating New Yorkers would save a total of $225 million and conserve 101 million gallons of gasoline. Specifically, Schumer found that:

• In the Capital Region fuel efficient tires could save consumers almost $22.8 million a year in gasoline costs, and could conserve over 10 million gallons of gas. • In Central New York fuel efficient tires could save consumers almost $29.2 million a year in gasoline costs, and could conserve over 12.9 million gallons of • In Rochester/Finger Lakes area fuel efficient tires could save consumers $38.9 million a year in gasoline costs, and could conserve 17.2 million gallons of gas • In the Hudson Valley fuel efficient tires could save consumers $55.1 million a year in gasoline costs, and could conserve 24.6 million gallons of gas. • In the North Country an estimated fuel efficient tires could save consumers $17.1 million a year in gasoline costs, and could conserve 7.8 million gallons of gas. • In the Southern Tier fuel efficient tires could save consumers $21 million a year in gasoline costs, and could conserve 9.5 million gallons of gas. • In Western New York fuel efficient tires could save consumers $40.9 million a year in gasoline costs, and could conserve 18.5 million gallons of gas.

Schumer's Amendment directs the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, a division of the US Department of Transportation, to establish an efficiency standard and labeling requirements for replacement tires so consumers know if the tires they buy are as efficient as the ones that came as original equipment when their cars were new. These standards would be reviewed and updated every three years to keep up with improvements in tire technology.

Schumer would also create a new consumer information program to promote the purchase of energy-efficient replacement tires including purchase incentives, Internet website listings, and printed fuel economy guide booklets. Schumer said that this information is essential because few drivers know about these tires and even fewer tire retailers in New York and across the nation sell such tires.

Tire efficiency is measured through rolling resistance, or the amount of energy needed to roll a tire down the road. Because of their higher rolling resistance, replacement tires are as much as 60 percent less efficient than the most efficient tires, like the ones tires that automakers use to help meet the federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, according to Green Seal. If all replacement tires were as efficient as the originals, fuel economy nationwide would improve by about 3%, and the United States could save 5 billion barrels of oil between 2007 and 2050, according to the National Resources Defense Council.

The California Energy Commission research has shown that fuel-efficient tires perform at the same safety level as the replacement tires that are currently used by cars throughout the United States. Tire manufacturers can use materials like silica to stiffen tires and lower their weight. Improved tread design can also improve rolling resistance.

Click here to view study.

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