Should You Buy Fuel Efficient Tyres?

January 16, 2020 at 12:34 PM

Fuel efficient tyres have been around for a while, with all tyres now being labelled and rated from A to G, A being the most efficient and G the least. And they are designed to be just what they are called, fuel efficient and do so by having different tread, rubber compounds and aerodynamic profiles. You might also see them called by a few other names such as Energy Saving or Eco Friendly, but they have all been designed to save you fuel. 

How Do Tyres Effect Fuel Consumption?

As tyres are the part of your car or van that comes into contact with the road, it goes without saying that they will affect your fuel economy (the amount of petrol or diesel that your car uses to get from point A to point B). In fact, around 20% of your fuel expenditure is through your tyres and something called Rolling Resistance. This is the friction/resistance which is caused between the tyres and the road – the more friction there is, the more energy is wasted as energy isn’t all being used to roll the tyre smoothly in a single direction. Tyres will heat up under friction which further contributes to using more fuel as the tyres can soften and create even more movement as the rubber begins to flex and expend energy against the direction of travel. In doing so, your car engine will have to exert more force to keep the car up to speed.

Fuel Efficient Tyres

By reducing the rolling resistance, fuel efficiency improves, but by how much? It is estimated that if you select efficiency band A tyres as opposed to an F, you could save up to 80 litres of fuel per year as well as reducing the environmental impact as you will reduce the cars CO2 emissions.

What’s Different About Fuel Efficient Tyres?

Tyre manufacturers design eco-friendly tyres by combining tread design, aerodynamics and rubber compounds that aid in keeping the rolling resistance to a minimum.

The tread on fuel efficient tyres is designed differently than tyres which aim to focus on grip and/or braking. The tread (blocks and other elements on the surface of the tyre) in a fuel-efficient tyre is designed to move less under load through it's pattern and by the compound used in the rubber used on the tyres surface. By making sure the tread itself moves less, the tyre will roll with less friction.

A variety of mixes of rubber and filler are used in all tyres and by choosing the right blend, the rubber itself can be made to resist undesirable movement. These compounds and the tyres construction in the most efficient of tyres also aim to reduce the tyre’s weight, further reducing their impact on fuel economy. The combination of tread design and rubber compounds can improve economy by as much as 60%.

Getting The Best Out Of Fuel Efficient Tyres

While choosing fuel efficient tyres is a great step and should lead to improvements on your fuel economy, that doesn’t mean you don’t or can’t play a big part in saving fuel.

One of the easiest things you can do is make sure your tyres are properly inflated to the correct pressures at all times. Under inflated tyres make contact with the road differently which increases rolling resistance by up to 30%. It also reduces the effectiveness of braking and grip so it’s also important for safety!

You can reduce aerodynamic drag by keeping within or below speed limits. Drag increases as a vehicles speed increases so not only will you use more fuel to drive at speed, your engine will have to work harder to move the car through the air. Aerodynamic resistance contributes up to 15% of the total elements of rolling resistance!

Another easy way to reduce rolling resistance is to reduce weight. So clear out your boot or the back of your van and only carry what you need when driving. Combine good driving, a clean vehicle and fuel efficient tyres and you will be sure to see a change in the speed your fuel gauge moves.

Category: Advice

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