Scaling Cleaner Freight Movement

Low Rolling Resistance Duals

Low rolling resistance (LRR) dual tires will save significant amounts of fuel when compared to tires that are not designed for low rolling resistance.

Cost per mile of tires has traditionally been defined in terms of initial purchase and tread life. However, the cost of fuel the tire consumes because of rolling resistance is five times greater than the initial purchase price of the tire. Rolling resistance makes up 30-33% of the total fuel cost of a Class 8 truck or about $0.13 per mile. The typical purchase price of the tire is about $0.038 per mile.

But given the range in rolling resistance among dual tires on the market today, tires could be claiming anywhere from $0.14/mile to $0.28/mile in fuel costs. Put simply, fleets that are purchasing tires without considering the fuel expenditure impacts of those tires are going to be miscalculating the impact of their tires on their bottom line.

Some of the costs to operate low rolling resistance tires may be higher than those of non-LRR tires, but those costs are recovered over the life of the truck. The cost of the fuel a tire consumes due to its rolling resistance outweighs the initial purchase cost of the tire by a factor of 3.4.

Benefits

Reduced Fuel Consumption

  • Since tire rolling resistance accounts for about one-quarter to one-third of truck fuel consumption decreasing by  rolling resistance 10% the result is about a 3% decrease in fuel consumption.
  • There is a large range of rolling resistance in commercially available tires today, so the fuel efficiency will vary widely.

Sustainability

  • Choosing tires from SmartWay’s Verified list of low rolling resistance tires contributes to a fleet’s sustainability goals.
  • California regulations call for low rolling resistance tires on certain trucks and tractors.

Initial Purchase Price
LRR tires are priced similarly to, and in some cases less than, non-LRR tires.

Challenges

Irregular/Premature Tire Wear

  • Shallower tread can lead to fewer miles overall, but more recent tire advances are extending tire life.
  • Some fleets are willing to give up some mileage if the cost of the lost miles can be made up in fuel savings.

Life-Cycle Cost vs. Initial Purchase Price

  • Initial purchase price of low rolling resistance tires can be a few percent higher than for non-LRR tires.
  • It can be difficult to determine actual fuel savings.

Common Fleet Strategies

Most fleets use the SmartWay verified list as a guide for finding LRR tires. Distributors or tire company representatives can help point fleets to tires that may be best suited for their application. Large fleets may run their own tire tests to determine which LRR tires make the most sense for them.

Premature tire wear is often the symptom of some other problem on the vehicle whether the tires are non-LRR or LRR. Simply replacing a prematurely worn tire with a new tire without addressing the underlying problem will result in premature wear of the new tire as well.

In order not to lose the benefit of LRR tires, fleets should:

Decision-Making Tools

NACFE developed several tools including a Confidence Matrix, decision guide and payback calculator to assist fleets in evaluating low rolling resistance tires. The Confidence Matrix shows how confident NACFE is in the adoption case for low rolling resistance duals.

Conclusions

Recommendations

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