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National Academy of Sciences publishes results of tire rolling resistance study

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"Congress should authorize and make sufficient resources available to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to allow it to gather and report information on the influence of individual passenger tires on vehicle fuel consumption," says the National Academy of Sciences in its tire rolling resistance study, the results of which were released today.

The agency states that "reducing the average rolling resistance of replacement tires by a magnitude of 10% is technically and economically feasible" within 10 years.

"Tires and their rolling resistance characteristics can have a meaningful effect on vehicle fuel economy and consumption. A 10% reduction in average rolling resistance, if achieved for the population of passenger vehicles using replacement tires, promises a 1% to 2% increase in the fuel economy of these vehicles.

"About 80% of passenger cars and light trucks are equipped with replacement tires. Assuming that the number of miles traveled does not change, a 1% to 2% increase in the fuel economy of these vehicles would save about one billion to two billion gallons of fuel per year of the 130 billion gallons consumed by the entire passenger vehicle fleet.

"This fuel savings is equivalent to the fuel saved by taking two million to four million cars and light trucks off the road."

The Academy recommends that NHTSA gather data on "a large portion of the tire passenger tires sold in the U.S. and be comprehensive with regard to popular tire sizes, models and types, both imported and domestic. NHTSA should consult with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on means of conveying the information and ensure that the information is made widely available in a timely manner and is easily understood by both buyers and sellers.

"In gathering and communication of this information, the agency should seek the active participation of the entire tire industry."

To view the entire, 134-page report, log onto the National Academy of Sciences' Web site: www.nationalacademies.org/morenews/

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