Better fuel economy with low rolling resistance tires? Not right away!

Thursday, June 30, 2011 by Doc Horvath
Tire Test Results Using 2009 Toyota Prius
With the growing popularity of Hybrid vehicles, most tire manufacturers (including Goodyear, Michelin, Bridgestone and others) are offering replacement tires with lower rolling resistance to further improve fuel economy. 

While our last complete test has a great deal of information to help distinguish the different models from one another, the question remains: How much difference will I see once a low rolling resistance tire is installed?

One thing to bear in mind is that, initially you may not see an improvement over your last set of tires. At full tread depth, the switch to new tires will typically result in an increase in rolling resistance of about 20%, which would translate into a potential 2% to 4% decrease in mpg. Only as the tire wears will your numbers improve.

Another thing to consider is a new tire at full tread depth will have a slightly larger overall diameter than the tire it replaced, so yoTire Test Results Using 2009 Toyota Priusur revolutions per mile will change and give the appearance that fuel economy has dropped. For example, a Toyota Prius getting approximately 50 mpg just before replacing its worn-out tires may be reduced to 47.25 mpg with new tires of the same brand, type and size, even if all driving conditions were identical.

In the end, it's important to choose a tire that best meets your needs and to have a little patience to reap the rewards of your decision!

For more information, review our tech article titled, "Understanding Corporate Average Fuel Economy" or talk directly with one of our sales specialists.

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