We all have heard of fuel efficient cars. Very few of us will have heard of “fuel-efficient tires”. In the past, only automotive manufacturers had access to fuel-efficient tires, which helped them boost their numbers on fuel efficient cars. Due to the recent emphasis on fuel economy and rising gas prices, auto manufacturers have worked with tire manufacturer to developed a line of what is called low rolling resistance (LRR) tires. When they were first introduced, LRR tires were only used on hybrid cars. However, today these fuel-efficient tires are available on almost every vehicle and from most tire companies.
Recent studies performed by manufacturers, as well as third party evaluations, reveal that low rolling resistance tires can help reduce a vehicle’s fuel consumption by as much as 4.5 per cent.
What is low rolling resistance?
Rolling resistance is also called rolling friction or rolling drag. The moment wheels begin to turn there is rolling motion resisting force put on tire by the road. On normal road surfaces, rolling resistance decreases with increased tire pressure and increases with vehicle weight. Rolling resistance can also be affected by tire construction and tread design.
You have have noticed that if you let your bicycle tires to go flat, it’s much harder to pedal than if they are well pumped up and quite firm. That’s rolling resistance is that you are experiencing.
How do low rolling resistance tires save fuel?
If you have ever touched a tire after it has been running for some time, you’ll notice how much heat is present, and that heat is wasted energy. Energy loss can be reduced by changing the rubber compound and tire shape to reduce the tire deformation due to resistance. This results in fuel savings for consumers.
Although low rolling resistance tires are very fuel efficient. there is a trade-off. Because the rubber on these tires grips less, braking distance is increased. So it always better to discuss your driving needs with a tire specialist before you change your tires.
Maintaining the proper tire pressure can also help in reducing rolling resistance.