Environmental Protection

Green Tires Will Get You Farther This Fourth of July Weekend

As Americans across the country hit the road for the Fourth of July weekend, many families are struggling to deal with the burden of high fuel prices. One key tip is often left off fuel-saving checklists:  buying the right tires can significantly improve a car's fuel efficiency.

Most new cars sold today come with fuel-efficient, or "green," tires in order to help them meet national fuel-efficiency standards, known as Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards. These tires have low rolling resistance because they are made from a special combination of rubbers that reduces the amount of friction between the tire and the road, which is directly related to improved fuel efficiency. Reducing friction is an effective method of saving gas without sacrificing safety.

However, when their original tires wear out, many consumers replace fuel-efficient tires with lower-quality models, reducing the number of miles per gallon their cars can achieve. And as a result, they use more gas, which costs more money and is harmful to the environment.

"Buying green tires is an easy way to make sure that your car is as fuel efficient as possible," says Randy Dearth, CEO of LANXESS Corporation, which makes the advanced rubbers used in many green tires. "Green tires may cost a little more up front, but they'll quickly save you money at the pump."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is currently working on a new standard consumer-friendly label that will help people quickly and easily compare the fuel efficiency of tires from different manufacturers. In the meantime, consumers should ask their local auto parts salesperson about each tire's rolling resistance and fuel efficiency so that they can make an informed choice, save money and contribute to a cleaner environment.

Of course, drivers who are not looking to replace their vehicles' tires can also take measures to improve overall fuel efficiency. Some of the most effective ways to boost fuel efficiency are:

  • Keep tires properly inflated. Proper inflation is vital to getting the most miles per gallon out of your car. An under-inflated tire creates more friction with the road, forcing your car to use more gas to propel it forward.
  • Lighten your car's weight. Especially while travelling long distances, a vehicle's weight has a significant effect on fuel efficiency.
  • Every additional 100 pounds your car carries increases energy consumption by one to two percent.
  • Tighten your fuel cap. Experts estimate this simple measure to ensure gas does not evaporate as you drive equates to saving three to six cents per gallon.
  • Align your wheels. Improper wheel alignment causes a car's tires to wear out more quickly and forces the engine to work harder, which can reduce gas mileage by as much as 10 percent.
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