Tire Pricing and Sizes: 50 Years of Popularity

April 11, 2016

In 1966, when 13-, 14- and 15-inch sizes were commonplace at the replacement level, two of the most popular tire sizes were 6.95x14 and 7.35x14.

The 6.95x14 was original equipment on vehicles like the Chevy Chevelle, Ford Fairlane and the Slant 6 Pontiac Tempest; the 7.35x14 was standard on the Dodge Coronet, Plymouth Belvedere and the V-8 Tempest.

The tires cost an average of $31.53 and $32.70, respectively.

Were those prices high or low in their era compared to today’s pricing? To find out, we first took the inflation rate over the last 50 years into consideration.

1966 pricing                        2015 pricing

$31.53 (6.95x14)                  $230.96

$32.70 (7.35x14)                  $239.53

Then we converted those bias-ply sizes to their modern-day  radial, 60-series counterparts, courtesy of “The Old Timers Tire Guide” from Tire Guides Inc. (www.tireguides.com):

6.95x14 = 215/60R14 7.35x14 = 235/60R14

The average advertised price for a 215/60R14 tire in 2015 was comparatively more than $100 lower — $124.04, according to Tire Intelligence LLC. The average price for a 235/60R14 tire was $122.26.

Chart 16


(in the U.S.)

Size                     Major brand        Low-cost               Overall

205/55R16           $136.17               $77.02                    $123.57

215/55R17           $152.84               $89.30                    $137.41

215/60R16           $126.43               $78.23                    $112.82

235/75R15           $125.03               $90.66                    $113.53

275/65R18           $216.08               $146.62                  $202.67

LT225/75R16       $181.00               $122.18                  $165.50

LT245/75R16       $193.85               $134.72                  $179.33

LT245/75R17       $210.60               $156.42                  $199.09

31x10.50R15       $173.84               $130.56                  $164.05

Source: Tire Intelligence LLC, www.tire-intelligence.com

The most popular sizes in 2015 are...

For the fourth year in a row, size P215/55R17 is the most popular OE size.

That may continue over the next three or four years; it has multiple 2016 OE fitments (Chrysler 300,

Fiat 500X, Hyundai Sonata, Honda Accord and HR-V) and strong past fitments (Volkswagen Beetle and Passat, Kia Soul, Honda Accord, and Chevy Cruze and Volt).

It also ranks as a popular replacement size, (ninth in 2014) and is expected to rise up the Top 10 list as the OE tires need to be replaced.

Advertised pricing breakdown, 215/55R17

Speed                 Major                    LCR                   Difference          Overall

V-rated                $156.46                 $92.10                70.0%                 $141.24

H-rated                $151.02                 $99.70                51.4%                 $144.96

T-rated                 $139.04                 $105.74              31.5%                 $132.78

Source: Tire Intelligence LLC

The top 10 OE passenger tire sizes represented 28.9% of the market in 2014, compared to 36.3% in 2011, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association. The top 10 replacement sizes accounted for 23.2% of the shipments in 2014, compared Source for Charts 16-18: Rubber Manufacturers Association to 22.5% in each of the previous three years.

1920 tire pricing

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. introduced the first all-season tire, the Tiempo, in 1977. Howeverm it was advertising “all-weather tread casings” in 1920.

Its size 30x3 clincher-style fabric all-weather tire cost $19.70 without the tube in 1920. Taking the inflation rate into consideration, that same tire would cost $233.78 today.

"Tire Pricing and Sizes: 50 Years of Popularity" is excerpted from the 50th edition of the MTD Facts Issue, which covers everything from tire shipments, brand shares and tire  pricing to distribution, commercial business and plant capacities. To read it all, download your own PDF of the MTD Facts Issue.

About the Author

Bob Ulrich

Bob Ulrich was named Modern Tire Dealer editor in August 2000 and retired in January 2020. He joined the magazine in 1985 as assistant editor, and had been responsible for gathering statistical information for MTD's "Facts Issue" since 1993. He won numerous awards for editorial and feature writing, including five gold medals from the International Automotive Media Association. Bob earned a B.A. in English literature from Ohio Northern University and has a law degree from the University of Akron.