Are you looking for efficiency in all the wrong places?

Michelin, Bridgestone, and Goodyear have recently started producing low rolling resistance tires to help improve fuel economy. Many think that rolling resistance is a simple thing to evaluate and to place some form of numeric rating on. Regrettably, it is not that easy. There are many things that can affect the rolling resistance of a tire: tire tread compound, rotational mass, weight of the vehicle and the passengers in it, even ambient air temperature. But there are other areas that also affect the efficiency of the vehicle: proper engine maintenance, correct alignment, properly functioning suspension components, and of course the type of driver you are. Many people tend to ignore the overall vehicle, even with the hybrids, and try to follow the hype about tires being the great robber of a vehicle's efficiency. If you take the exact same tires and place them on the same exact cars but the cars are driven by two different types of drivers then you will find the efficiency rating will always be different.  
Goodyear Assurance
featuring Fuel Max Technology
     Bridgestone Ecopia EP422         Michelin Energy Saver A/S

When we tested the low rolling resistance tires, I thought the ride quality tended to feel stiffer than a standard tire and the traction level nowhere near as good. In my own opinion, the wet traction was seriously lacking in all of the low rolling resistance tires compared to standard tires. So when it comes to the tires that my family drives on, I will always looks for traction and safety above all else, and would rather give up on efficiency to achieve a higher level of traction.

You can read more about rolling resistance in the tech articles below:

Tire Rolling Resistance Part 1: Understanding Corporate Average Fuel Economy

Tire Rolling Resistance Part 2: Defining Rolling Resistance

Tire Rolling Resistance Part 3: Changes to Expect When Switching from Worn-Out to New Tires

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