Wed March 22 01:00 pm 2023 in category Company news

Energy-efficient tires make a difference – How can drivers affect the carbon footprint of their tires?

Fuel consumption during driving accounts for the biggest environmental impact over a tire’s lifecycle. By choosing tires with low rolling resistance and checking tire pressures regularly, the driver can both improve the energy efficiency and contribute to the eco-friendliness of driving. Also other factors, such as raw materials and the emissions from manufacturing, affect the carbon footprint of tires. 

“There are many concrete ways for drivers to make a positive impact on eco-friendliness in traffic. Over 80% of a tire’s carbon footprint is created during its use. A wise choice of tires, the right tire pressure, and a careful driving style significantly reduce emissions from driving,” says Teppo Huovila, Vice President, Quality and Sustainability at Nokian Tyres. 

Carbon dioxide is the most significant greenhouse gas generated by traffic. When an internal combustion engine car is used, it emits CO2 from the exhaust pipes. Typically, about one-sixth of these emissions is the result of the energy consumed by the rolling resistance of the tires. As for electric vehicles, rolling resistance accounts for even as much as one fourth of the energy use. 

For example, if a combustion engine vehicle emits 120g of CO2 per kilometer, the tires’ rolling resistance will account for 20g/km. The lower the rolling resistance of tires, the less fuel is needed for driving. For electric vehicles, lower rolling resistance means longer driving range and smaller electricity consumption. Thus, lower rolling resistance means lower CO2 emissions and a smaller carbon footprint.  

The rolling resistance of tires may differ greatly. The difference is significant for a car owner – and not just environmentally. The EU tire label reports fuel efficiency on a scale from A to E. For example, a class B tire consumes about 0.1 liters less fuel per 100 kilometers than a class C tire, and 0.2 liters less than a class D tire. 

The average rolling resistance of Nokian Tyres’ tires has been reduced by 8.5%, compared to year 2013. This equals to the exhaust fumes of 65,000 cars annually. 

Production carbon footprint and raw materials also contribute to tires’ eco-friendliness 

Besides rolling resistance, also factors such as raw materials and production emissions contribute to the carbon footprint of tires.  

“Compared to 2015, we have already reduced the greenhouse gas emissions per production ton by 43% and are excited to soon begin the construction of the first zero CO2 emission factory in the tire industry to reduce the emission even more,” says Huovila. 

Tires are made of over 100 different raw materials, and they are another important factor when evaluating the eco-friendliness of tires. Many recycled and renewable raw materials are regarded as particularly sustainable ones. Sustainability and eco-friendliness of raw materials are key factors in Nokian Tyres’ material choices. 

“We aim to increase the share of either recycled or renewable raw materials in our tires to 50% by 2030. The use of new raw materials requires a great deal of product development efforts and testing, as new raw materials can affect various tire properties. The tire’s safety characteristics must of course not be altered when new environmentally friendly raw materials are taken into production use,” says Huovila. 

Correct tire pressure optimizes energy consumption and helps prevent tire damage 

In addition to lightly rolling tires, correct tire pressure is vital for energy efficiency. If the tire pressure is too low, both fuel consumption and the risk of tire damage increase. Thus, regular tire pressure checks are an easy way to impact the eco-friendliness and safety of driving. 

“As a rule of thumb, tire pressure should be checked once a month. If the load is heavier than usual, the tire pressure should be 0.2 bar higher than normally,” Huovila reminds. 

Further information:  

Teppo Huovila, Vice President, Quality and Sustainability, tel. +358 10 401 7701  

[email protected]