Fuel Efficiency of Tires is Important for Auto Makers and Consumers

As fuel prices continue to climb, most consumers are searching for ways to achieve improved gas mileage, and North America's largest tire maker has some advice. A recent posting by the U.S. Department of Energy lists the most fuel-efficient vehicles by category, and tires produced by The Goodyear Tire + Rubber Company outfit six of the eight category leaders.

No other tire manufacturer has as many standard fitments on the top gas-savers on the list as Goodyear. In addition to being the tire of choice for the most fuel-efficient car overall, the Toyota Prius, Goodyear claims standard fitments on these category-leading vehicles:

  • Mini Cooper (Minicompact)
  • Toyota Yaris (Subcompact)
  • Honda Civic Hybrid (Compact)
  • Honda Accord (Large Car)
  • Honda Fit (Small Station Wagon)

The Prius is considered the most efficient "Midsize" car, according to the list.

"In addition to leading the way on this list, Goodyear has more OE fitments (tires on new vehicles) than any other tire manufacturer," according to Joey Viselli, Goodyear brand director. "This is significant because of the importance auto makers place on overall vehicle fuel efficiency and CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) requirements."

Tire manufacturers work to develop products that contribute to a vehicle's fuel mileage ratings. However, as the only four touch-points on the roadway, tires also must provide grip and traction for start-up, cornering and braking, along with performance in all sorts of weather and on varying road surfaces, long tread life and a comfortable ride.

Goodyear's industry leadership in fuel-efficient tires is evident in many other examples:

  • Along with key fitments on the most fuel-efficient cars, development work continues by Goodyear on various low rolling resistance and environmentally friendly tires with distinctive rubber compounds using special ingredients such as silica, biofillers, functionalized polymers and more.
  • Concept and production tires from Goodyear have been featured on fuel- saving vehicles displayed at automotive gatherings within the past year, including the Toyota FCHV (Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle), Dodge Durango Hybrid, Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid, Chrysler Aspen Hybrid, Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell and more.
  • Earlier this year, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Goodyear tires were seen on many vehicles in the "fuel-saving" segment, including the Dodge ZEO Concept (electric car), Saab 9-4X BioPower Concept, and Toyota A-BAT.
  • A recently announced new vehicle fitment - a specially compounded Goodyear Integrity tire - is on the 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt XFE, a fuel- efficient car that claims 3 mpg savings versus a conventional Cobalt.

Tires' importance at the gas pump is growing as gas prices climb. As of June 10, average U.S. retail gasoline prices had jumped nearly one dollar versus year-earlier prices, according to the U.S. Energy Department. The pump price had risen to a nationwide average of more than $4.04 per gallon (regular grade), and as high as a $4.47 per gallon average on the west coast.

When tire care is factored in, the rising fuel prices become even more critical.

According to Goodyear, running a tire 20 percent underinflated -- only 5 to 7 pounds per square inch -- can increase fuel consumption by 3 percent. Not only that, but the tire's tread life is reduced by underinflation.

The Energy Department has reported that every pound per square inch of tire underinflation wastes 4 million gallons of gas daily in the U.S. At today's prices and with more vehicles on the road, that's a huge expense. An underinflated tire deflects more energy and increases rolling resistance, which robs the vehicle of fuel efficiency.

At Goodyear-owned tire and service outlets, consumers can participate in the company's "Free Air" program and have their tires checked for free, including an inspection of tread condition and tire inflation. Air will be added as needed, free of charge.

Goodyear recommends that motorists should check tire inflation at least monthly and before any long trip. Tires should be inflated to the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations printed on the vehicle door placard or in the owner's manual, not the maximum limit stamped on a tire sidewall.

On http://www.goodyeartires.com , visitors will find extensive information on tire care, product selection and more. A section called "Tire Buying Made Easy" details how a tire is made and provides tire maintenance tips. Through a link, website visitors can request a copy of "The Complete Tire Safety Guide."

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