Jack Dreyer | Monday 8th January 2024 9:25am
When you walk, there needs to be enough friction between your shoes and the road surface for you to actually get anywhere – it’s why walking on ice isn’t especially easy! The same thing happens with car tyres: as they rotate, they rely on friction to move forward against the road.
This friction is a benefit when it comes to gripping the road, but more friction also requires more energy to move. What this boils down to is more fuel – and tyres can actually account for up to 20% of your car’s fuel consumption.
Some tyres are designed to be more fuel-efficient, reducing your fuel consumption and costs. And, with fuel costs on the rise, these tyres are becoming increasingly popular as drivers look for ways to reduce the cost of running their vehicles.
But are fuel-efficient tyres worth the money? As the cost of living rises, read on to find out more about how buying the right tyres could help you save money on petrol.
What is rolling resistance?
A key element of tyre design is something known as “rolling resistance”. The attempt here is to design tyre tread patterns and compounds that are able to grip the road just as well but without holding onto it as much. In other words, friction when you need it and not when you don’t.
Rolling resistance is essentially how much resistance the tyres provide against the engine when the car is going – this isn’t necessarily a simple question of the tyre’s grip in general, but how much the tyre warms up and “sticks” to the road as you drive. A tyre with more rolling resistance can help you to stop much faster, but will also cause you to use much more fuel when you drive.
Imagine having to walk through sand all the time! You’re rarely at risk of going too fast, so you’re reasonably safe in that respect, but it takes a lot of energy to get anywhere.
What are fuel-efficient tyres?
Fuel-efficient tyres, also known as energy-saving tyres, are designed to consume less fuel and keep the tyre tread intact for longer.
They are manufactured using a special compound to minimise heat resistance on the road. This results in lower levels of rolling resistance, lower fuel consumption, and reduced fuel costs.
Additionally, they are designed to be more rigid and aerodynamic, as well as have tread patterns that roll more efficiently.
How to know if tyres are fuel-efficient
Fuel efficient tyres don’t look visually different to any other type of tyre. However, each set should have a label that states its fuel efficiency grade. Since 2012, this has been a legal requirement for all tyres sold within the EU.
The tyre label grades the tyre in three categories:
- The fuel efficiency class – rolling resistance
- Breaking and wet grip – how quickly does the tyre stop in wet conditions?
- Exterior noise – the level of noise emitted when driving
Most tyres that are advertised as energy-efficient should have an A or B rating for rolling resistance.
Tyre efficiency ratings
Tyres are rated on efficiency, based on the amount of energy lost when the tyre is rolling. Efficiency ratings range from Class A, the most efficient, to Class E, the least efficient. Between the classes, fuel consumption increases by approximately 0.1 litres for every 100 km driven.
Until May 2021, the grading scale for efficiency ranged from A to G. but has now been simplified to make it easier for drivers to understand their tyres.
Can fuel-efficient tyres lower my fuel costs?
Yes. Choosing energy-efficient tyres will lower your fuel usage and, as a result, lower your fuel costs. The difference can be significant.
The difference between an A-rated tyre and an E-rated tyre, for example, could be as much as £1,721 over the tyre’s lifetime. Using a tyre fuel efficiency calculator online will help you see how much you could save by using tyres with a better efficiency rating.
Not only this, but fuel-efficient tyres will also reduce your carbon emissions, making your vehicle more eco-friendly too.
What are the best tyres for fuel efficiency?
There are a variety of fuel-efficient tyres available on the market, including the Bridgestone Turanza T005. This fuel-efficient tyre mixes NanoPro-Tech™ polymer into the high-silica-content compound, to help maximise fuel efficiency. This helps the tyre to hold its shape for longer, preventing it from building up too much heat.
Ultimately, all this tech combines to create a tyre that uses less fuel and saves you money.
Tips for saving more money on fuel costs
To get the most from your fuel-efficient tyres, follow these tips for more efficient driving:
- Check the pressure of your tyres regularly and ensure they stay at the recommended level
- Regularly check your tyres for any signs of uneven wear. This could indicate a tracking, suspension, or tyre pressure problem, which may increase fuel consumption and costs
- Avoid accelerating or braking suddenly whenever possible
- Keep both your vehicle and your tyres well maintained
Based on savings of 150 litres of fuel over a distance of 40,000 km at £1.15 per litre (weighted average). The effect may change depending on the vehicle and driving conditions. Performance measured in accordance with the test method set in the regulation UN ECE R117
Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.
Wednesday 22nd November 2023
It can be hard to tell if your puncture can be repaired or not. Read our handy guide to understand if your tyre can be saved or if you need a replacement.
Wednesday 18th October 2023
Driving on old or worn tyres can be dangerous so you need to maintain them properly. Read about how long tyres should last and how to know if your tyres are old.
Thursday 27th October 2022
Driving in the rain isn’t only a pain but can be surprisingly hazardous – here are our top tips for staying safe in wet & icy weather this winter.