Tires Roll Up The Green
If your car or truck needs a new set of doughnuts, consider going green. We don’t mean colored tires; several manufacturers have tried colored tires, and it’s never caught on. We’re talking tires that are specifically designed to have low rolling resistance to enhance fuel economy.
The concept behind low rolling resistance tires is that they require less energy to get and keep spinning. Many factors contribute to how easily a tire rolls, including tire weight (less is better), tread compound chemistry, and tread pattern aerodynamics. Generally speaking, most replacement tires are designed for all-around performance and not optimized for miles per gallon.
This is changing.
At the Chicago Auto Show, Bridgestone launched the Ecopia EP100, the company’s latest environmentally friendly tire. They claim it improves fuel economy and delivers a quiet ride without sacrificing wet handling performance, three characteristics many consumers are looking for.
The tire addresses these performance issues by using interconnected rib blocks to help reduce energy loss and to enhance wet performance. Three-dimensional circumferential ribs to help reduce irregular wear and lessen road noise. Angled lateral grooves are incorporated into the Ecopia EP100 to help avoid hydroplaning.
Of course, Bridgestone isn’t the only company making low rolling resistance tires. Michelin does, too. If you like getting tires promoted by Bibendum, the most efficient tires in their line have these names; Latitude, Primacy, Hydroedge & Harmony, X-Ice, and Pilot Sport.
According to Michelin data, the above lines of tires reduce rolling resistance by approximately ten percent. Because tires represent only one of many components of friction that affect fuel economy, the net improvement on a vehicle’s mpg will be about 1-2 percent. If you believe the California Energy Commission, the improvement is 1.5-4.5 percent.
The question is whether these green tires are worth it. As a car or truck ages, it often becomes less efficient. Replacing worn tires with new, low-rolling resistant stock will help reverse this trend.
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