The rolling resistance of a tyre is the amount of energy required to get a tyre moving and to keep it moving. If the amount of rolling resistance can be reduced, the amount of fuel required to move a vehicle will also be reduced.

Application relevance

Reduced rolling resistance tyres offer genuine potential for fuel savings and emissions reductions across all vehicle types. They are particularly suited to long-haul applications, allowing for reduced resistance when driving at higher speeds.

Reduced rolling resistance tyres are currently available in the Australian market and can be adopted immediately.

Potential benefits

Manufacturers’ claims, supported by a number of real-world trials, indicate a likely fuel-saving range of 4–13% for heavy vehicles. Goodyear’s Fuel Max has indicated a range of 4–8% under test conditions.

Key implementation considerations

In reducing the rolling resistance of a tyre, differences in design can result in a reduced life span, increased maintenance time and costs to the fleet. Although these costs are typically outweighed by the fuel savings, maintenance cycles and life span should be considered prior to adoption.

Examples of implementation

A UK haulier

This case study illustrates the fuel savings achieved with the use of reduced rolling resistance tyres in a heavy vehicle freight application. A UK haulier undertook a tyre trial assessing fuel consumption over 140,000 km with two identical truck units, one with reduced rolling resistance tyres. Fuel savings of 13% were achieved over the course of the trial. The trial assumed that the energy-efficient tyres would have a shorter life by one-third; however, even taking this into account, fuel cost savings outweighed the replacement tyre costs by over $4000 a year.

Walkers

A trial by this food distribution operator resulted in a 4% reduction in fuel consumption in the first six months after fitting energy efficient tyres to part of its fleet.  For more information, see Department for Transport (2010) Save Fuel with Low Rolling Resistance Tyres – Case Study UK Government (Opens in a new window) PDF 2.8 MB.

For the full report, see Fuel for Thought – Identifying potential energy efficiency opportunities in the Australian road and rail sectors (opens in a new window) PDF 1.5 MB.