Range-Increasing Low-Rolling Resistance Tires Falling Out of Favor with Drivers
Low-rolling resistance tires are fitted as standard equipment to increase “fuel” economy on most plug-in vehicles, but do they actually detract from the overall driving experience?
That’s one of the tire-related questions JD Powers set out to answer in latest survey that tracked social media activity related to tires.
The survey covered all types of tires, but of interest to us is the low-rolling resistance variety found on most all “fuel efficient vehicles. Automakers often opt to fit vehicle with these tires in an effort to meet Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards or to simply boost range and MPGe rating, if ever so slightly. It’s believed that low-rolling resistance tires increase “fuel” economy by 3 to 5 percent, which may sound minute, but today every percentage points matters.
As JD Power discovered, low-rolling resistance tires are “falling short of customer expectations in terms of satisfaction.” The survey further suggests that some potential customers are put off by low-rolling resistance tires because they believe them to compromise traction and safety in exchange for only a slight improvement in gas mileage. Several test have confirmed this to be true by proving that most low-rolling resistance tires have long stopping distances at high speeds and lack grip in the corners, both of which could ultimately lead to accident that the same vehicle equipped with a more capable tire might of avoided.
Additionally, JD Powers says that “While consumers ultimately conclude that low-rolling resistance tires may improve fuel efficiency, they are confused and concerned regarding the associated sacrifices.”
We’ll now turn this discussion over to you, our readers. If you own a vehicle equipped with low-rolling resistance tires, or have ever been in a situation where you thought the capabilities of your tires determined the outcome, or would just enjoy discussing the rubber that meets the road, then please share your thoughts in Comments below.