How’s Your Rolling Efficiency Health? The Earth is asking.
As the leaves begin to change and cooler temperatures are upon us, it’s the perfect time to check your tire fitness. It’s not just an essential safety habit to check for wear and tear, it’s also important to make sure your tires are in peak rolling efficiency health—a check-up that isn’t just good for your vehicle, but good for the planet.
So, What Is Rolling Efficiency?
Rolling efficiency is the amount of energy required to maintain a tire’s rotational movement and can be one of many factors that affect a vehicle’s fuel economy. Better fuel economy means lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. And since reducing GHG emissions is a critical priority for the automotive industry, USTMA members are on the front lines driving the mission to reduce vehicle emissions throughout a tire’s useful life by designing tires with high rolling efficiency.
Improvements in modern tire materials, including the introduction of silica, have revolutionized the tire industry and drastically reduced older and less efficient compound materials and manufacturing methods. Today’s tire is a highly engineered marvel that delivers greater fuel economy while also maximizing safety, performance, handling and durability.
And rolling efficiency doesn’t just lower GHG emissions, it can also increase your bank account! As little as a 10 percent improvement in rolling efficiency, for instance, can reduce consumer fuel costs by up to $36 a year (assuming fuel is $3 a gallon). Considering the estimated 263 million vehicles on American roads, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, that’s up to more than 1.5 billion fewer gallons of gas used at a total savings of nearly $9.5 billion.
How can you make sure your tires stay healthy and efficient?
USTMA members offer many high rolling efficiency tires, but maximizing rolling efficiency is more than a manufacturing consideration; drivers also play an important role. To ensure that any tire is rolling safely and at its best, it’s crucial to maintain proper tire pressure and alignment. This is where you come in!
Pressure – Proper tire pressure is one of the most important tire conditions to monitor for both safety and efficiency. Anyone who has pedaled a bicycle with tires low on air understands the added work required to overcome the increase in rolling resistance. Under-inflated tires on a vehicle often go unnoticed because the vehicle’s engine is figuratively doing all the pedaling. The additional work a vehicle’s engine must perform to overcome the increased rolling resistance of under-inflated tires increases fuel consumption and GHG emissions.
Proper tire inflation measurement can be found on the driver side door jam or owner’s manual and USTMA recommends drivers check their tire pressure at least once a month and before heading out on any long trips. Tire pressure should be checked when the tires are cold – meaning parked for at least three hours – as tire pressure can increase or decrease with warm and cold weather.
Alignment – Tires’ rolling efficiency is highly impacted by their alignment with the vehicle. Without getting too technical, you want to make sure your tires are in neutral alignment – perfectly parallel with the vehicle. Misalignment can lead to excessive tire flexing and “scrubbing” as a vehicle drives down the road, creating greater rolling resistance, which ultimately contributes to higher fuel consumption and shorter tire life. USTMA recommends having your tire alignment checked regularly, along with your tire balance, as specified by the vehicle’s owner’s manual, and always at any indication of trouble, such as “pulling.”
USTMA and its members are committed to reducing the environmental impact of the tires we manufacture. As we do our part to continuously work and innovate safer and more sustainable tires, you can do yours by ensuring your tires receive proper care and are always rolling at their best. Together we can breathe easy knowing that a cleaner, more sustainable future is on the way.