Friday, May 29, 2009

Low Rolling Resistance Tires

When it's time to replace our tires, how many of us think about rolling resistance? Although the average car with low rolling resistance (LRR) tires would use 6% less gasoline (see this report by Green Seal) and produce 630 lbs. less greenhouse gases per year, tire makers are not required to label tires with their rolling resistance, according to The California Energy Commission will soon require tire manufacturers to make tire fuel efficiency information available to consumers, however.

Most new cars come with LRR tires, which help car manufacturers meet Federal fuel economy standards, but often original tire models are hard to find. Neither the local nor the national Honda office could (or would?) tell me what kind of tires our Civic hybrid had originally. Looking for replacement tires that would maximize gas mileage, I ran across the Green Seal report on LRR tires and was able to find some that a local shop could order. Keeping the tires pumped up makes a big difference, too. Our mileage varies by as much as 7 mpg depending on tire pressure.

By December '09, California expects to have minimum efficiency standards for tires sold in California. Let's ask our Congressional reps to require these standards nationwide! We could keep nearly 110 billion pounds (55 million tons) of carbon dioxide out of the air each year if every car and light truck in the US had LRR tires. Comment with your fuel efficiency and other carbon-cutting stories!
Stay cool,

Wikipedia has an article on LRR tires with links to more information. Check out the US Dept. of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's page on LRR tires.

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