A new report by University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute researcher Dr. Michael Sivak has found that tires with minimal rolling resistance can deliver up to a 6.3% improvement in fuel economy.
In “Benefits of Using Tires with Low Rolling Resistance,” Sivak explains how he measured the rolling resistance of 49 tire models to calculate the fuel consumed annually by an average driver. He then calculated the difference in fuel economy between the most and least roll-resistant tires.
The US Transportation Research Board estimates that a 10 percent increase in tire rolling resistance results in about a 1-2 percent decrease in fuel economy.
The rolling resistance of the tires Sivak examined ranged from 8.1 lbs. to 12.1 lbs, which translates into a maximum fuel economy of 22 mpg and a minimum of 21 mpg.
The difference in fuel economy between the easiest and hardest rolling tires worked out to about 6.3 percent.
“At the average 2015 price of regular gasoline, the obtained fuel-consumption extremes result in a $78 difference in the annual cost of gasoline per light-duty vehicle,” Sivak said.