Low Rolling Resistance Tires
What is rolling resistance and how can it help reduce a vehicle’s fuel consumption?
Conventional tires lose energy through internal friction as they roll down the road. As the wheels turn to move the vehicle forward, the tires change their shape in order to make and maintain contact with the road. The section where the tire meets the road is called the contact patch.
Did You Know?
Several factors can help reduce the environmental impacts of tires.
- Tire Pressure – Tires designed to operate at higher pressures reduce the deformation of the tire.
- Rubber Compounds – Harder and lighter compounds do not deform as much, thus requiring less energy.
- Dimensions – Narrow, low profile tires generally require less energy to deform.
- Weight – Tires with less material require less energy to deform and reduce the unsprung weight of the vehicle.
- Tread Pattern – Smooth tread patterns roll more easily than coarse tread patterns. Short lugs and narrow gaps improve rolling resistance.
- Compounding Methods – Using alternatives to toxic oils during fabrication helps reduce environmental impacts.
eTV Study on Low Rolling Resistance Tires
All tires have a rolling resistance coefficient—a parameter that defines how much resistance a tire encounters as it deforms into the contact patch—both at a static state when the vehicle speed is kept constant, and in a dynamic state when the vehicle’s speed is changing (such as when accelerating or slowing down). Generally, a tire with a higher rolling resistance coefficient will cause a vehicle to burn more fuel to keep the vehicle moving, and thus cause a vehicle to have higher fuel consumption. And by consuming more fuel, the tailpipe emissions (GHGs and other pollutants) also increase.
The eTV program is undertaking a study on a number of different tires mounted on 15- and 16-inch rims, the most common tire sizes in Canada, to:
- quantify the extra time a vehicle is able to coastdown for a predetermined reduction in rolling resistance;
- assess whether reducing the rolling resistance has an impact on dry braking distances;
- evaluate the extent to which rolling resistance can affect fuel consumption.
- determine whether rolling resistance coefficients can be used to compare the environmental benefits of tires;
This study will allow Canadians to learn more about the benefits of lower rolling resistance tires and their contribution to reducing fuel consumption and emissions.
Detailed informationTest plan
Alternative formatLow Rolling Resistance Tires Test Plan – Alternative Format – Adobe PDF
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Also on the eTV site
The following vehicles in the eTV fleet are equipped with low rolling resistance tires:
- Volkswagen Polo BlueMotion TDI
- smart fortwo mhd
- Renault Mégane
- Toyota Prius 2010
- Hymotion-Prius PHEV
- Date modified: