Author: Rich Ashley
Tiremakers stress their commitment to continuous improvement in environmental management. They proclaim their determination to actively contribute to the protection of the environment and address the concerns of the public. Tire companies describe environmental protection as an important part of their corporate culture, a core value that is part of their everyday operations. One of their first steps was to analyze the total lifetime environmental impact of tires to help determine how it might be improved. What researchers found was that rolling resistance contributes the most to greenhouse gas emissions (in excess of 85%) because of the amount of extra fuel that tires cause engines to burn. Every additional gallon of oil that is burned to overcome rolling resistance adds 18 pounds of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Further improvements are tougher to come by, but a stated goal of several manufacturers is to improve fuel economy by 2% with each new generation of tires – without reducing traction or any of the tires’ safety characteristics.