Reinventing the Wheel

Can you believe that the type of tires that are on your vehicle could be causing you to spend more money on fuel. It’s true. We all know or have heard that the amount of air a tire has affects the fuel efficiency you get. In that case there is of course more tire touching the ground causing more inefficient contact resulting in more friction on the surface of the road and resulting in excessive rolling resistance. Key word…”rolling resistance”. Just what does that mean and how does it affect our cost at the pump? Rolling resistance is how easily a tire rolls down the road, minimizing the energy wasted as heat between the tire and the road, inside the tire sidewall and the tire and rim. Improper inflation is not the only matter we need to keep in mind regarding our tires. The choice of tire we purchase can also make or break us at the pump. There are tires with variable amounts of rolling resistance and that is something that needs to be kept in mind with your tire purchases. The key to tire selection is to try to find one that would allow the least rolling resistance. So your asking yourself is that my job or the tire manufacturers responsibility. Are we assuming that the manufacturers are looking out for us? For the most part …no. However as we become more and more concerned about the use of resources, tire manufacturers are making a concerted effort to improve their product to be in line with the needs of the public. So as with most other things in our lives we have to be informed of our options and make informed decisions with our tire purchases. Now your thinking…is it worth it. According to research done by California Energy Commission, 1.5 to 4.5% of total gasoline use could be saved if more people were using low rolling resistance tires. This translates into an average savings of 30 gallons of gasoline per car, per year and a national savings of $2.5 to $7.5 billions of gasoline. Green Seal, an independent and non-profit organization that uses science based standards and the power of the marketplace to create a more sustainable world, states that an individual vehicle could save up to 6% of its gasoline use if it was fitted with efficient tires. All of the little tips that we are informed about can only make us better consumers to benefit us and the rest of humanity.

Check out the web site for Green Seal, http://www.greenseal.org/index.cfm

Resource for tire ratings, www.ConsumerReports.org

Vickie Wheatley

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