California Eyes Rolling Resistance

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

California’s Energy Commission is examining the possibility of a government database and rating system for the fuel efficiency of car and truck tires, reports Modern Tire Dealer. “The foundation of a government administered product rating system is a comprehensive database providing reliable test results and objective information accessible to everyone. A solid analytical basis combined with full disclosure and transparency inspires the confidence required for a rating system to be successful,” says the CEC. “A ranking system driven by the ‘best in class tire’ can ignite a competitive spirit.” Under the CEC proposal, “all tires with an Rolling Resistance Factor (RRF) within 15% of the lowest RRF reported tire for that combined tire size designation and load rating will be rated ‘fuel efficient tire.'”

Manufacturers aren’t thrilled at the prospect, arguing that, if enacted, the rating system could add $20 million in industry costs for testing and data management. The Rubber Manufacturers Association is championing a “self-certification” system, in which tire makers would monitor each others’ rolling resistance claims. The RMA also points out that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is developing a federal-level tire rolling resistance regulation and a California-only rule “may not be prudent.”

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Rpn453 Rpn453 on Jun 15, 2009

    I hope they do it. The more I know about a tire before purchase, the better.

  • Niky Niky on Jun 15, 2009
    # David Holzman : June 15th, 2009 at 1:49 pm The less the rolling resistance the more slippery the tire. Hear. Hear. Every "fuel saving" low-resistance tire I've ever bought was a nightmare in terms of braking performance. That's not a trade-off I like making. And the extra price versus an "ordinary" tire, is, at this time, not worth the economy benefits. The differences just don't equate. midelectric : June 15th, 2009 at 1:57 pm @David Holzman I don’t think that rolling resistance and the “slippery”-ness of a tire are necessarily related. Early LRR tires were known for high wear rates but I don’t hear that as much anymore. There is a lot of attention being paid to the area so trade-offs are not set in stone. Decrease wear rates by making the compounds higher in silica and harder (and thus decreasing rolling resistance even further)? Please do. And make them ride like ice skates in the wet while they're at it? Glee! - While it's nice that people are trying to come up with tires that have LRR and are thus more economical, mandating that tires have LRR doesn't make sense from a safety standpoint. Cars should come with the tires they need to handle their power and mass... allowing them to accelerate and brake easily and to corner without drama. If we have manufacturers using weaker brake pads just to avoid the dreaded "brake dust problem" identified by CR... and then using LRR tires to promote their green-ness... we're going to have a lot of safety-compromised cars on the road. It's not something you can't drive around... but most consumers can't drive in the first place...
  • David C. Holzman David C. Holzman on Jun 16, 2009

    TTACfan Two of my Prius-driving friends complained that Prius suffers from the cross winds on one particlar bridge in the Cleveland area. I have strong suspicion that it is, at least in part, due to the low rolling resistance tires. Very interesting. Does anyone know if they're sticking overly slippery tires on Priuses to up the gas mileage? If they are, I need to tell my brother to be careful. Of course, he's not exactly an enthusiastic driver, so it might not be a problem.

  • Niky Niky on Jun 16, 2009

    Most hybrids, including all generations of Prius, have low-rolling resistance tires.