How Fuel-Efficient Tires Can Save You Money


Ever wondered what low-rolling-resistance tires are and how they can improve your car's fuel efficiency and save you money?

Read in this article:

When it comes to driving thrifty, you've likely already learned the tips and tricks to hypermiling, which include accelerating and cruising at low to moderate speeds, changing gears at the right time, and maintaining your tires. It's the combination of all of these factors that result in the best fuel economy for your car, and equipping your car with fuel-efficient tires is another method you can use to even further improve this.

While they can be expensive, low-rolling-resistance or fuel-efficient tires can potentially save you money over the long run, especially if you know how they work.

New Tires Can Help With Gas Mileage

How Do Rolling-resistance or Energy-saving Tires Work?

Rolling resistance is the force required for a car to get its tires moving from a standstill. Low-rolling-resistance tires are engineered to require less force than regular tires to begin moving. Additionally, these tires are developed to minimize the amount of tire flex that occurs between the tire and the tarmac, so less energy is wasted - this means stiffer sidewalls. In some fuel-efficient tires, lighter-weight materials are used to make them, which helps to reduce the amount of friction between the tire and the road surface.

Other differences between regular tires and energy-saving tires are unique tread patterns that allow more efficient rolling. In summary, tires designed to reduce fuel consumption are often lighter in weight, have more rigid sidewalls, and special tread patterns to make resistance to rotation less. The result is lower fuel consumption.

These are ideal for family-friendly SUV vehicles but when it comes to something more purpose-specific, like a Toyota Tundra work truck, you may not want to deviate from the recommended tires which have specific grip levels and are more capable of taking on rougher terrain. In fact, many drivers of these larger vehicles actually choose to upsize their wheels for more off-roading capabilities and load-bearing versatility. To read how this works, and how it can affect your fuel economy, check out our post on putting bigger tires on your truck.

Energy Saving Tires
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The Best Tires For Thrifty Fuel-Economy Returns

In the American market, some of the more popular low-rolling-resistance tires include:

  • Michelin Energy Saver A/S
  • Bridgestone Ecopia EP422
  • Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max
  • Pirelli Scorpion Verde
  • Continental Crosscontact LX20 EcoPlus

Factors determining which are the best tires for frugal gas mileage returns include the type of vehicle you'll be using them on, the typical weather conditions of where you use them, and how well you maintain them.

Fuel Efficient Tires

Five Ways To Save Money On Car Tires

There are several money-saving strategies that shoppers can employ when it comes to buying new tires for their cars, starting with implementing proper tire care:

  • Optimal pressure - Too much air pressure in your car's tires can accelerate tread wear through the center of the tire, while too little air pressure can cause excessive tread wear on the outer edges. Ensuring that your tires are inflated to the correct pressure levels, usually displayed in the manufacturer's guide or on the tire sidewall, will not only extend their lifespan but will also improve your car's fuel efficiency. Click here to read more about how tire pressure can affect the performance and lifespan of your tires.
  • Periodic Rotations - If you perform regular rotations of your car's tires, you can even out the wear on the front and rear tires when you drive and help keep their contact patches in optimal condition for longer. This will prolong their lifespan and maintain the least amount of rolling resistance in all of the tires, which subsequently improves fuel efficiency. Read more on how often to rotate your wheels correctly here.
  • Compare prices - As with most things, shopping nationally and online and doing your research is the savviest way to find the best price for the tires you need. This will give you a better idea of pricing and the general cost of tires, and give you the opportunity to find attractive specials, potential deals, and better options. You can also use the prices you find and quotations you receive to negotiate better prices with other retailers or manufacturers. If you live in an area where the weather changes regularly and drastically, buying all-season tires rather than a set of summer and winter tires can save you money, too.
  • Buy secondhand - Oftentimes, there are people that return tires after having used them for just a short while, usually because they didn't enjoy the way they affected their car's ride or handling. They are referred to as takeoffs and are usually generously discounted if they've been cleared of defects.
  • Brand name alts - Instead of looking at purchasing the most popular branded tires, you can get comparable performance and durability from lesser-known manufacturers that are almost always significantly more affordable. Look at factors such as the speed rating, which is the sustained speed that the tire can structurally handle; the load index, which refers to the weight each tire can support while inflated; and the treadwear rating, which essentially indicates the durability of the tire's tread conveyed as a figure multiplied by 100 miles. You should also consider the warranty coverage offered with the purchase of tires.
Tires That Improve Fuel Economy


Is it worth buying expensive tires for better fuel economy?

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, most drivers can achieve up to just 3% of fuel savings with low rolling resistance tires. That may not sound very impressive, but the benefits really rack up over time.

Are there any drawbacks to energy-saving tires?

Yes, sometimes low-rolling-resistance tires are made with a harder rubber that can negatively affect the ride quality of the vehicle. LRR tires also tend to have less tread depth than regular tires, which means they wear down quicker.

Do new tires improve gas mileage?

New tires do help with gas mileage as the fresh tread and lack of wear provide optimal low-rolling-resistance levels and traction, so it requires less effort for your car to send power to the ground. Getting new tires also usually means having your car's wheels aligned and balanced and inflated to the proper pressure levels, al of whichl also contributes to better performance overall.

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