Low Rolling Resistance Tires

No matter what is said about gas prices dropping, filling up your gas tank is still expensive—high fuel costs prompt articles about how to get better fuel mileage. Many articles discuss the tire’s low rolling resistance as a factor in getting better mileage. As a Security Driver or Secure Transportation Provider, some information should be viewed cautiously.


Rolling resistance refers to the energy it takes to rotate the tires; the resistance is created by the friction caused when the tire surface meets the road. The Department of Energy estimates that 4 to 11 percent of fuel consumption is due to tire rolling resistance. Industry studies show that a 10 percent drop in rolling resistance equates to about a 1 percent improvement in fuel economy.

These days, there are tires on the market specifically designed and advertised as having low rolling resistance. Unfortunately, the trade-off for these tires is traction and, to be specific, wet traction. Lower resistance is achieved thanks partly to a shallow tread that allows less air in the mix. Less tread means easier hydroplaning.

From TTNews.Com – Michelin’s X One Line Energy T is a low-rolling resistance and SmartWay-certified tire. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

The reduced grip on roads

The low-rolling resistance tires are designed to be used on smooth roads. This results in the tire getting a lower grip when compared with conventional tires.

This is where the Science of Driving pops up. For whatever reason, vehicle violence or accident avoidance, if the security driver needs to perform an emergency maneuver, you need as much tire adhesion as possible.

In our (ISDA) opinion, a Security Driver should never give up tire adhesion for fuel economy. We suggest avoiding the low rolling resistance tires.

Proper Tire Inflation

One of the other talking points on how tires can help fuel mileage is keeping your tires properly inflated.

But as we have mentioned, keeping tires properly inflated is not as easy as it sounds. To get a handle on tire pressure, here is additional information in the form of posts and podcasts concerning tires and tire pressures.

Tires and Tire Pressure

198 – Tires and Tire Pressures, Dynamic and Human Driving Tasks

Tire Pressure Basics