'Green Tires' Popularity Increasing, Grip Improving Too

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Michelin Pilot Super Sport tire fitted to the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta

Michelin Pilot Super Sport tire fitted to the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta

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If you drive a hybrid or plug-in vehicle, chances are you're already familiar with 'green tires'.

Also known as low rolling resistance tires, they're becoming an increasingly popular way of improving the fuel efficiency of cars, both in dedicated green vehicles and even regular cars.

That popularity is only set to increase, reports Wards Auto.

As gas prices rise, tires which claim to reduce gasoline consumption up to between 5-7 percent help drivers eke every last drop from their gas tank.

It's even more important in Europe, where gas prices are frequently double that in the U.S.--and some industry sources predict market penetration for green tires will be between 70-80 percent by 2022.

Up until recently, there has been a drawback to low rolling resistance tires--wet grip levels.

The rubber compounds designed to reduce resistance as the car drives along don't work as well in colder or wet weather.

Chemical company Lanxess has developed a tire it says can offer both benefits--low resistance to improve gas mileage, and good wet weather grip and braking capabilities.

That will make it a high scorer on Europe's new tire labeling system, which rates tires in two main categories--efficiency and wet weather grip. Running from A to G ratings, the new Lanxess tire is expected to rate AA, topping both tables.

As for the tire labeling system, it's designed to give consumers an easy chart by which to compare one of the most important components on your car. A similar rating system is already used in Europe on cars themselves, and was first started to rate the efficiency of refrigerators, televisions and other consumer goods.

Do you have green tires on your car? And should the U.S. have a tire rating system similar to that in Europe?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.


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Comments (5)
  1. The usa definitely needs new labels. I have been trying to figure out how to compare the new MICHELIN ENERGY SAVER A/S to the stock Goodyear tires on my 2006 Prius. The Goodyear tires have poor grip in the cold and the wet.

  2. Yes, my Volt has the Goodyear fuel efficiency tires.

    Another problem with the fuel efficiency tires (at least on my Volt) is the fact that they "howl" like crazy with taking a high speed aggresive corner. But it is pretty "stable" in this situation. It just "screams" at me a lot...

    Also, I wonder how long does those tires last vs regular tires.

    On the Michelin vs. Goodyear thing, I found that both of them are generally good brands. But in my opinion Michelins are quieter and last longer (and gives slightly better MPG). It does require a "premium" in cost though...

  3. Thanks for the input.

    At the moment I am using HanKook tires on my Prius which are inexpensive and have better grip than the Goodyear. But I think I lost a few MPG in the summer, although may have gained a couple for the rest of the year.

  4. Tires are important. Do not go for an increased efficiency tire if it offer less grip. The ones, like tesla and fisker karma and volt and prius are overweight cars and if fitted with poor grip tires can lead to an accident on the wet and cold roads. Also these cars have automatic regenerative breaking when you lift the gas pedal, this can lead to an accident if you let go the gas pedal on the wet. Peoples living in the north can have a disaster with this in the snow. Inertia laws haven't changed and these new cars and tires didn't take account of known inertia and they totally forget good sense for fancy marketing forgotting security all at once. These are the new charlatans trying to get to light and provoking accidents.

  5. I disagree with you. All those cars that you mentioned come with traction control and it will modulate the brake/regenative system to make sure there are tractions. Also, "regneative" braking are no different from "downshifting" with engine braking in manual cars. It won't cause you to lose traction that easily.

    Also, Volt and Prius come with regular mode where regenative braking is very light...

    If you can drive manual transmission in snow, then you can handle those cars in snow.

    Don't make statements on something you haven't experienced yet...

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