Yonkers, New York – New tests of two all-season, low-rolling-resistance (LRR) tires by Consumer Reports reveal that they save fuel but also deliver good stopping and handling capabilities, unlike LRR tires in the past which had a trade-off of fuel efficiency and overall performance.
The tires tested were the Michelin Energy Saver A/S and Cooper GFE.
For years, automakers have specified fuel-saving tires as original equipment to help improve a vehicle’s fuel economy numbers. Tires with lower rolling resistance, the amount of force required to push a tire down a road, are more fuel-efficient than others, but replacement tires aren’t limited to the automaker’s requirements and many consumers preferred attributes such as all-season grip and tread life. In the past, consumers had to weigh a trade-off between LRR and performance attributes such as dry- and wet-weather grip. More recently, tire manufacturers have been achieving a better balance between the two.
Both the Michelin Energy Saver A/S and Cooper GFE fared well in tests, but the Michelin was “exceptional,” the magazine said, having the lowest rolling resistance of any all-season tire tested by Consumer Reports in recent years, along with “Very Good” scores in dry and wet braking.
The Cooper GFE’s rolling resistance was not as low as the Michelin’s, but it performed well in hydroplaning resistance and emergency handling tests, and rated “Good” for both snow traction and ice braking.
Rolling resistance accounts for about four per cent of a vehicle’s fuel use in city driving and about seven per cent on the highway.
Consumer Reports cautions consumers not to buy a tire based solely on its fuel-saving capabilities. “Short-term savings are relatively small,” said senior engineer Gene Petersen. “But most consumers will likely see long-term fuel savings over the life of a tire. No matter what tire your car is rolling on, it’s critical to maintain proper inflation.”