Low rolling resistance tires are designed to reduce the energy loss as a tire rolls, decreasing the required rolling effort — and in the case of automotive applications, improving vehicle fuel efficiency as approximately 5–15% of the fuel consumed by a typical gas car may be used to overcome rolling resistance.[1]

Such tires are now commonly installed as standard, either mandated by law or to meet eco labelling standards.

Measuring rolling resistance in tires

Rolling resistance can be expressed by the rolling resistance coefficient (RRC or Crr), which is the value of the rolling resistance force divided by the wheel load. A lower coefficient means the tires will use less energy to travel a certain distance. The coefficient is mostly considered as independent of speed, but for precise calculations it is tabled at several speeds or an additional speed-dependent part is used. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has developed test practices to measure the RRC of tires. These tests (SAE J1269 and SAE J2452) are usually performed on new tires.

When measured by using these standard test practices, most new passenger tires have reported RRCs ranging from 0.007 to 0.014.[2] In the case of bicycle tires, values of 0.0025 to 0.005 are achieved.[3] These coefficients are measured on rollers, with power meters on road surfaces, or with coast-down tests. In the latter two cases, the effect of air resistance must be subtracted or the tests performed at very low speeds. In 2009 The CEC used a rating called Rolling Resistance Force RRF. RRF and RRC, rolling resistance coefficient are very similar. Difference is taking the RRF and dividing it by the load(weight) to get RRC. So a Michelin Harmony tire rated at 9.45 RRF at 1000 pounds load would be .0095 RRC.[4][5]

In the early 2010s in Canada, Transport Canada tests were planned on a number of different tires mounted on 15 and 16-inch rims – the most common tire sizes in Canada at that time – to determine how rolling resistance is influenced by vehicle size, tire width and profile. Results will be used to inform Canadians about the types of low rolling resistance tires available in Canada, and whether they can help reduce fuel consumption and pollutants from passenger vehicles.[6] SAE J2452 is a standard defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers to define the rolling resistance of tires.

The rolling resistance coefficient (RRC) indicates the amount of force required to overcome the hysteresis of the material as the tire rolls. Tire pressure, vehicle weight and velocity all play a role in how much force is lost to rolling resistance.

The basic model equation for SAE J2452 is:

Rolling Resistance (N / lbs)


is the tire inflation pressure (kPa / psi)
is the applied load for the vehicle weight (N / lbs)
is the vehicle speed (km/h / mph)
, , , , and are the coefficients of the model

and are dimensionless. The units of , , and are determined by both the unit system and the values of and , so that the equation is consistent.

This model is newer than SAE J1269 and provides more accuracy over a range of different vehicle loads (weight), tire pressures and vehicle speeds.[citation needed]

Fuel consumption

A 2003 California Energy Commission (CEC) preliminary study estimated that adoption of low-rolling resistance tires could save 1.5–4.5% of all gasoline consumption, but that current data were also insufficient to compare safety and other characteristics.[7]

A United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study in 2009 found that if 2% of the replacement tires would reduce their rolling resistance by 5%, there would be 7.9 million gallons fuel and 76,000 metric tons of CO2 saved annually.[citation needed]

(SAE J1269 and SAE J2452) performed on new tires.

Standard equipment

Because fuel efficiency is an important selling point for most hybrid vehicles, they are often equipped with low-rolling resistance tires. Electric vehicles are also often equipped with low-rolling resistance tires to maximize their range.

Auto manufacturers in the United States typically equip new vehicles with tires that have lower rolling resistance than their average after-market replacements, in order to meet Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards.[8]

These include Conti Contact, Michelin Energy, Bridgestone Ecopia, and Goodyear Eagle LS tires. For Indian roads, Madras Rubber Factory(MRF) offers the MRF ZSLK range of eco-friendly car tires with low rolling resistance.[citation needed]

Available tires

Some tires available in 2003 ranked by coefficient from lowest (least wasteful), according to the United States National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Board Special Report 286[2] and the March 2003 Green Seal report on the topic.[9]

Here is a list of Consumer Report's tires that achieved their best rolling resistance rating. The tires at the top of the list are rated higher overall.

Below are the light duty tires (as reported by Consumer reports) achieving their best rolling resistance rating. Again, higher overall rated tires are closer to the top of the list.

Followed by:

New models by 2009:

Comparison with conventional tires

Depending on the specific technique and materials used by the manufacturers, tire life may be as good as conventional tires, and traction may also be as good.[2]

A Transport Canada study that examined performance of vehicles that combined "light weighting" (reducing vehicle weight) and Low Rolling Resistance tires found that such vehicles performed about the same or better than their non-light-weighted/regular tire counterparts. The test vehicles were a Ford F150, rear-wheel drive standard pick-up truck; an Acura MDX, all-wheel drive sport-utility vehicle; and a Volkswagen Jetta, front-wheel drive compact sedan. Top speed and acceleration generally improved. "Handling performance showed no significant correlation with light-weighted and LRR tires; Braking & slalom testing showed variable results for the setups tested."[10]

A Union of Concerned Scientists newsletter says "LRR tires also meet the same federal standards for treadwear, traction, and temperature resistance as regular tires."[11]

Older Low-rolling resistance tires may reduce ability to grip, especially when taking corners, and may also wear out more rapidly.[12]

Regional requirements

See also: Tyre label

California has rolling resistance requirements that went into effect in July 2008.[13] The law was passed in 2003 and the standards and reporting requirements were finalized in 2007.

United Nations require a regulation too: "Tire Rolling Sound Emissions, Adhesion on Wet Surfaces, and Rolling Resistance | UN Regulation No. 117".[14]


Passenger tires are tested for rolling resistance in order to obtain the German Blue Angel eco-label[15]

See also


  1. ^ Low Rolling Resistance Tires (Website). Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy. Retrieved on 2007-08-11.
  2. ^ a b c "Tires and Passenger Vehicle Fuel Economy: Informing Consumers, Improving Performance -- Special Report 286.", National Academy of Sciences, Transportation Research Board, 2006. Retrieved on 2007-08-11
  3. ^ "Al Morrison Crr". Archived from the original on 2007-01-29.
  4. ^ California Energy Commission Archived 2012-03-10 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ 77 tires RRF Archived 2010-12-25 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Transport Canada LRR Study Archived 2011-01-17 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ California State Fuel-Efficient Tire Report: Volume I California Energy Commission, July 2003. Retrieved on 2007-08-11.
  8. ^ Low Rolling Resistance Tires...Which is Best? - TDIClub Forums
  9. ^ Green Seal Report
  10. ^ "Dynamic Performance Comparison of Vehicle Models & New Model Generations Employing Lightweight Materials and Low Rolling Resistance Tires". Transport Canada (Government of Canada). Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  11. ^ Earthwise: Updates from the Union of Concerned Scientists, Volume 6, Number 2, Spring 2004 Archived 2008-01-15 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Rolling out the changes". The Economist. Dec 2, 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2009.
  13. ^ California has low-resistance tire laws - AutoblogGreen
  14. ^ "GAR | Tire Noise, Wet Adhesion, and Rolling Resistance". globalautoregs.com. Retrieved 2015-11-27.
  15. ^ Tires and Passenger Vehicle Fuel Economy: Informing Consumers, Improving Performance -- Special Report 286 (2006) by Board on Energy and Environmental Systems (BEES)