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Published on September 22, 2004

Tire Rolling Resistance and its Impact on Vehicle Fuel Consumption

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Date Published September 22, 2004
Several successful market launches of hybrid passenger vehicles have shown that consumers are interested in saving fuel and that they are concerned about protecting our environment. With gasoline prices topping the $2/gallon level in the United States, there is ever-growing interest in identifying methods to save fuel. While it is well known among vehicle manufacturers and government agencies that the tire plays a role in vehicle fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, consumers are much less aware of this fuel-tire connection. In this paper, the impact of tire rolling resistance on both vehicle fuel consumption and emissions will be discussed. The range of rolling resistance that may be expected between tires is presented and the effect of these differences on fuel economy discussed. The impact of tire design on rolling resistance is compared to that associated with basic tire maintenance performed by the consumer. Estimated savings in fuel, cost, and carbon dioxide emissions that can be achieved through reductions of tire rolling resistance, both for the consumer and at the national level, underscores the benefits associated with improved tire designs and consumer tire maintenance.