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Tyres are going green

Manufacturers are going to great lengths these days to improve fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions. Complex stop and start engine cut out systems and hybrid electric / petrol cars are just two of the measures car companies are taking to tackle these challenges.

Manufacturers are going to great lengths these days to improve fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions. Complex stop and start engine cut out systems and hybrid electric / petrol cars are just two of the measures car companies are taking to tackle these challenges. Such measures, especially in the case of hybrid cars, are technologically complicated and expensive and the return in terms of emissions and fuel consumption is marginal. It may surprise many drivers though, that a more effective, simple and cheaper solution is easily available. That solution is to install and correctly inflate low rolling resistance eco tyres.

A recent report by consumer magazine, Which? has shown that fitting eco tyres will save around 6% on your fuel bills. It might not sound like much but on an average car that covers 12,000 miles a year at 35mpg it amounts to £140 per year. A further study by rubber manufacturer, Lanxess, shows that fitting such tyres results in carbon savings per pound that are 35% better than for an engine with a stop start system and 62% greater than on a hybrid vehicle. Most drivers barely consider their tyres, until they experience a flat or puncture and have to change them, but they are incredibly sophisticated pieces of equipment. Tyres can have over 4,000 components, so different types can vary widely. The low rolling eco varieties tend to cost around £30 more per tyre but that cost is absorbed by savings during the first year, for the average motorist and thereafter the returns increase.

Managing director for Lanxess, Kim O'Connor explains: "It is amazing that so many people are spending tens of thousands on new low-emission vehicles when comparable benefits can be achieved by greener tyres. If more people understood that these tyres could reduce fuel consumption and cut CO2 emissions by up to 1kg every 60 miles, I think there would be a rapid shift in motorists' buying behaviour."

It is now easier than ever before to identify how efficient your tyres are, thanks to a new EU labelling system that came into force in November 2012. This should help consumers make a more informed choice next time they are in the tyre centre, with its confusing wall of differently priced tyres. Another even simpler measure is to make sure that your existing tyres are properly inflated. Studies show that up to 95% of cars on our roads have at least one tyre at an incorrect pressure. Correctly inflated tyres can reduce fuel consumption and also increase the life of the tyre, while shortening stopping distances.
 

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