Looking for ways to meet consumer demands for higher-mileage vehicles, carmakers are using low rolling resistance tires to gain an additional mile or two per gallon, according to the Detroit News.
Advances in tire compounds have helped tire makers create more efficient choices for consumers looking for replacements down the road. Once reserved for hybrid vehicles, these energy-saving tires are finding their way onto more models such as the 2009 Ford Escape. When Ford Motor Co. introduces its 2009 compact SUVs this summer, all of them will include low rolling resistance tires.
Using the 16-inch Michelin Latitude Tour low rolling resistance tires on its four-cylinder 2009 Escape boosted fuel economy by 1 mile per gallon, to 21 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. General Motors Corp. wanting to speed the development of its hybrid SUVs, used the Bridgestone low rolling resistance tires that GM had on its shelf, which deliver up to 2 miles per gallon better performance.
The Green Seal, a nonprofit environmental organization, estimates that between 1.5 percent and 4.5 percent of all gasoline used by cars and trucks in the United States could be saved if all replacement tires were low resistance.
Michelin estimates a set of its Latitude Tour HP tires can save $300 or 68 gallons of gas during a lifetime of regular use. A set of Primacy MXV4 tires can save you 51 gallons of fuel or $200.
Replacement tires vary in price by dealer. A search for low rolling resistance tires for the Ford Escape hybrid ranged in price from $150 to $260 per tire -- higher than a conventional one.