How Better Tire Technology Improves Fuel Efficiency and Performance

Whether your car is gasoline, diesel, electric, or even self-driving, the technology in our tires is a key enabler of more efficient transportation

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

There are three key ways to improve a vehicle’s fuel efficiency:

  • Drivetrain improvements (including engine technology) and aerodynamic improvements;
  • Lighter weight vehicles;
  • Improved tire performance.

Though initially influenced by more stringent regulatory standards concerning fuel efficiency, auto manufacturers are making long-term investments in improving mileage across all classes of automobiles.

“Green tires” are one such investment, helping companies meet broader corporate sustainability goals as demanded by institutional investors interested in“ESG” compliant companies and a more environmentally conscious consumer base. Today, automakers’ and consumers’ demand for energy-efficient tires is one of the most important trends in sustainability around the globe – and green tires are a crucial element to meeting that demand.

Intrinsic to these advancements in green tires is Synthetic Rubber, specifically Solution-Styrene Butadiene Rubber (S-SBR), which provides the unique chemistry that allows tires to roll across the pavement with less energy loss – a concept which is referred to as “reduced rolling resistance.”

A tire’s rolling resistance is a major, if hidden, source of emissions and fuel consumption, accounting for:

  • 25 percent of a vehicle’s CO2 emissions, and
  • 20-30 percent of a vehicle’s fuel consumption.1That means any technology improvements in tire efficiency means personal savings for consumers. Over the life of a set of tires, those with low rolling resistance can save a consumer up to 80 liters of fuel.2

You can learn more in “Science and Technology: Catalysts for Tires of the Future,” our white paper covering the application of synthetic rubber in performance tires. This article is Part One of a three-part series. Read Part Two and Part Three.

Footnote Citations:

  1. Source: Transportation Research Board Special Report No. 286, “Tires and Passenger Vehicle Fuel Economy,” National Research Council of the National Academies, pp. 42-51, 2006
  2. Source: Transportation Research Board Special Report No. 286, “Tires and Passenger Vehicle Fuel Economy,” National

Diagram of a Tire

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