Tires that reduce friction can improve fuel economy
The past 100 years have proven that tires are the most effective way to drive cars. The tires have undergone many evolutions to make the components of modern vehicles lighter and more reliable. As automakers make strides to meet the new federal standards for fuel economy, the multifaceted pursuit of more gas savings is driving the next advancement in tire technology.
Recognizing the energy loss through friction as a tire surface makes contact with the road (called rolling resistance,) tire companies have recently devised rubber compounds designed to specifically to increase a vehicle’s moving efficiency.
Introduced to the market most prominently by Goodyear with their Assurance Fuel Max tire, rolling-resistance has been reduced with the careful infusion of products like silica into the tread. Equating for a 4% gain in vehicle fuel economy drivers can take comfort in the fact that no compromises were made to producing a good handling passenger car all-season tread. While a 4% gain initially too minimum to be seriously accepted as an evolution, the 65,000 mile tread life of the Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max tires can pay dividends down the road.
Accepting an average fuel price of $3 per gallon, a car averaging 22 MPG would save $340 through the time Goodyear’s Assurance Fuel Max tires turn on your vehicle. While concerns surround diminished vehicle handling of low-rolling resistance tires, reviews have determined the fuel efficient rubber compounds still present competent everyday braking and traction.
After Goodyear received wide acclaim for their advance in low-rolling resistance tires, the Akron, Ohio tire company is no longer alone producing fuel-saving rubber. Continental unveiled a ProContact brand tire with EcoPlus Technology while Bridgestone has most recently showed their company’s all-new Ecopia tire at this year’s Chicago Auto Show. Promising similar fuel economy performance to the Fuel Max tires, the Continental tire is also rated for a longer range than the Goodyear benchmark.
The Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max tires are retailing between $77-141 depending on the wheel and tire dimensions. Bridestone’s Ecopia tire has been priced competitively with the Goodyear Fuel Max rubber. Beyond being a retail item, these tires has also found favour as new vehicle equipment. An available feature on the 2010 Ford Fusion S, General Motors have two prominent upcoming products featuring Goodyear’s Fuel Max rubber, the Chevrolet Cruze Eco model and the plug-in hybrid Volt.
When it comes to modern fuel efficient tires, resistance (by most means) is futile.
Information source: Goodyear, Bridgestone, and General Motors
Picture source: General Motors
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