Tires are one of the most important components of a car. They affect all aspects of driving and efficiency.
When you think of ways to increase fuel economy we seldom think of tires. Sure we get recommendations on keeping the correct pressure but that’s about most of it.
What if I tell you that you could increase your savings and improve fuel economy just by choosing the right replacement tires?
There exists a tire specifically made to increase your fuel economy. Depending on your car and how you drive you could see a significant difference at the fuel pump. Now, who doesn’t like that?
Low Rolling Resistance Tires Are The Most Fuel Efficient
Low rolling resistance tires are designed specifically to reduce the friction of your wheels with the road. The less friction there is the less effort is required to propel your vehicle down the road.
Less effort means your engine works just a little less to go a little further. This all adds up to less fuel consumed, seems great if you’re only after fuel economy but, as with everything in life, there are some trade-offs.
Characteristics Of Low Rolling Resistance Tires
- Environment friendly
By opting for low rolling resistance tires, more fuel is saved. By not using this fuel, we can decrease carbon dioxide (cO2) emissions pumped into the atmosphere.
As a matter of fact, according to Fueleconomy.gov a gallon of gasoline produces about 20 pounds of cO2, so even the slightest amount of fuel savings make a big impact.
- Improved Wet Weather Perfromance
Low rolling resistance tires are made from a combination of silica (a sand-like substance) and natural rubber. The silica reduces flex in the tires when in motion, allowing water to be wicked away by the treads more easily.
- Less tread life
The silica in low rolling resistance tires creates a much harder compound. Combined with shallower tread blocks the tread life is reduced, meaning more frequent tire changes.
You can learn all about the dangers of low tread tires from our guide here.
Nevertheless, the amount of fuel saved can still make up for the expense of changing tires more often.
Typically, low rolling resistance tires start at around 100$ each and can go up from there depending on quality and brand.
Will Low Rolling Resistance Tires Definitely Improve Your Fuel Economy?
The short answer is yes, By using this tire, you can improve your fuel economy by 1% to 3%. While this figure isn’t as significant as many would say, you’d be surprised how it could benefit you in the long run.
Now results can vary based on a few factors.
Not All Cars Will Be Able To Utilize The Efficiency
If you drive a car that hasn’t been maintained properly or has major mechanical defects chances are tires won’t really affect your bottom line.
Aerodynamics Effect Fuel Economy
Aerodynamics is a crucial part of car efficiency. Cars that are designed to have a reduced aerodynamic drag can improve fuel economy by 5% and more even without low rolling resistance tires.
The real magic is when you combine the two. That’s why most cars designed at efficiency, like hybrids, already come with low rolling resistance tires.
Now if you drive a pickup truck or something not terribly aerodynamic it’s not to say that low rolling resistance tires won’t work, it’s just that they won’t make as significant of an impact unless you drive tons of miles.
Ways To Get Better Mpg From Your Current Tires
If switching to a low rolling resistance tire isn’t a viable option for you yet, there are still other ways for you to get better miles per gallon (mpg) from your current tires.
Rotate Them With Every Oil Change To Ensure Even Tread Wear.
By rotating tires, you can even out the wear the wheels incur when rolling. This prevents one wheel from causing too much drag and lowering your efficiency.
Keep Them Properly Inflated To Get Proper Traction
Under-inflated tires can significantly increase rolling resistance. Just keeping them at the proper pressure can maintain mpg, and also increase the longevity of the tires.
Slightly Over-Inflating Can Improve Mpg
You can reduce rolling resistance by slightly over-inflating your existing tires. It’s important to note that you can damage your tires if you inflate them too much so be cautious. Overinflation reduces the contact patch between the tire and the road, requiring less energy from the vehicle.
Low rolling resistance tires are with no doubt one of the best replacement tires to consider nowadays. They are the most fuel-efficient and environmentally-friendly tires that you can get.
So if your considering getting new tires and are looking for a way to reduce fuel costs (who isn’t?) maybe low rolling resistance tires should be on the top of your list.