This is the time of year I take my take my winter tires off, and have my other tires put back on.
This year I may be due for new tires. I was afraid my other tires didn't have enough tread left to get through another season. I took the tires to Tires Plus to discuss my options.
It is borderline, so I asked "What tires do you have?" The tire guy recommended the Bridgestone Ecopia EP422. He said it was a mid price range "green tire." He said it had a quieter ride than the tires I was considering, and would my boost fuel economy. He said most people save about $400 in gas over the tire's life.
I was a bit skeptical because I wasn't familiar with the concept of "Green tires" or more Eco-friendly tires. Still, I didn't think he was just trying to sell me a more expensive tire because I usually buy mid priced tires. I did some googling. I learned most of the tire manufacturers now sell a "Green" or more Eco-friendly tire and these tires use a technology that lowers rolling resistance, which actually does increase fuel economy thus saving people a little gas money and reducing their carbon footprint.
According to the Department of Energy, about 5% to 15% of a car's gasoline consumption is used to overcome rolling resistance. Note: for trucks it increases to 15% to 30%. So reducing that rolling resistance will increase gas mileage.
The Department of Energy website also indicates that most new cars are equipped with low rolling resistance tires, to help auto manufacturers meet CAFE standards. However, only in recent years have tire manufacturers sold them as replacement tires. They are not major sellers. The Ecopia is still just 5% to 10% of Bridgestone's sales.
The California Energy Commission has a fuel efficient tire program. The web site indicates if the state's 21 million cars over 3 years old would upgrade their tires, it would save about 252 million gallons of gas a year, $882 million a year, and reduce CO2 emissions by 2.7 million tons a year.
As I mentioned, most tire manufacturers now produce a "Green" replacement tire. In addition to the Bridgestone Ecopia, there is
I went to Tire Rack and read the reviews, and the people who bought these tires seem happy with them. Also, this list is not intended to be all inclusive.
Another way to reduce the rolling resistance of your tires thus improving gas mileage is to keep your tires properly inflated.
A new tire with 10/32nd tread will have a higher rolling resistance than a worn tire with just 4/32nd tread. That's why when people buy a new rolling resistance tire, they may not notice an immediate improvement. Tire Rack discusses that here.
Anyway, I certainly learned something about tires and fuel efficiency and thought I would share it with the community, if people are interested. I realize that more fuel efficient tires and cars are just a small piece of combating climate change.
I was a kid when Jimmy Carter was elected. He was the last President I remember who asked us to give anything. He asked us to save energy. I remember how poorly that went over. I often feel sad when I think about our economic and environmental crisis. The last 30 years few people are willing to give anything to solve them whether it be conserving energy or paying a little more in taxes. And so much of the sacrifices rolls down to those at the bottom. That has to change if we are to solve our problems.
Here is a little video You Tube demonstration: