Import tariff rolling up tire prices

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -As winter approaches you may be thinking about getting a new set of tires for the coming season.

But before you roll on in to your favorite tire store you need to know that tire prices are going up.

Tires for your vehicle represent a major investment.

Even the low end tires, the majority of which are imported, can easily cost you a couple of hundred dollars.

An import tariff on Chinese tires went into affect in late September.

Now the costs are being felt by dealers who have to pay may more to stock up.

Those costs are being passed right along guessed the customer.

Donna Harvey one of the owners of Raider Tires says it's not just the imports that are going up.

"They've gone straight across the board on every tire it's about an 8 to 15 percent increase on each tire every size. They've just kind of spread it across to keep certain sizes from being drastically higher than other sizes."

In other words you have been paying $225 for a set of tires for your car and you want a complete set of new ones.

Harvey,"It's 400, 450 for a set of tires."

And even though one tire may still be made in the United States a different size of the same style may be imported.

Some companies also get their tires imported depending on size. They are all 3 Generals but  one is made in Mexico, one size in Taiwan and another size made in the USA.

President Obama has targeted imported Chinese tires for a tariff in order to bolster U.S. tire manufacturing. China manufactures nearly a 3 to 1 ratio over American manufacturers.

Ricky Gibson normally buys tires at a local discount store but now he's shopping around to get the best price.

'The name brand that I got I'm usually about 80 to 90 dollars a tire. I'm just varying to see what the price is here. Hopefully it'll be around there, I don't know."

Owner Ron Harvey gave it his best shot. With the imports costing about 5 bucks less than the American made tires.

The price jump affects everybody that uses tires. As if it's not hard enough on farmers, implement tires are made in china and how about your basic semi tire, replace 10 of those at 400 bucks a pop. Harvey said semi tires took nearly a $100 dollar jump in price. Even tires for a lowboy trailer were running about $170 for an import.

Ms. Harvey said the first line out of a phone call used to be, "What do you got in the way of new tires?" Now the first line often is, "What do you got in the way of used tires?"

Harvey said they do sell used tires but they are inspected pretty close before they are sold and it seems like demand for used tires has gotten much higher, regular sized used tires are becoming difficult to find as people use their tires until they are pretty much worn out.

Harvey, "Times are tough, people got to do what they got to do to stay on the road."

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