Ask G

Ask G: Are there any eco-friendly tyres?

Tanya Ha tackles your eco-questions and finds out what your greenest tyre options are.

I’m in need of replacing my car tyres soon and wanted to know if there are any “eco-friendly” tyres? If not what’s my best green choice?
- Richard Dimech, via email.

tyre-ask-g

Credit: sxc.hu

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It’s great to see options with better eco-credentials popping up in so many product categories. About a fifth of a car’s fuel use is due to friction from tyres, so the focus has been on designing tyres to improve fuel efficiency.

Any round object rolling on a surface experiences ‘rolling resistance’. ‘Low rolling-resistance’, ‘fuel saver’ or ‘energy saving’ tyres incorporate silica into the tyre material, which reduces the friction between molecules within the tyre ‘rubber’, thereby reducing the rolling resistance of the tyres.

Fuel efficient tyres reduce petrol costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Henry O’Cleary of GreenWheels.com.au says these tyres are estimated to reduce vehicle emissions by 3-5 per cent. Brands available include Michelin Energy Saver, Goodyear Fuel Max and Bridgestone Ecopia. The Bridgestone product is endorsed by Planet Ark and claims a reduction in petrol consumption of 5.7 per cent.

For the greenest tyres, you need to think about the entire life cycle. Whatever brand you choose, it’s still important to maintain them well and keep them inflated to the recommended pressure. This will help them to last longer and keep the operating at optimum fuel economy. Tyres are also a considerable waste problem, so make sure your old ones are reused (try them as garden planters!) or recycled. Tyre recycling is included on the website www.recyclingnearyou.com.au