Can tyres help reduce CO2 emissions?

10th June 2019
Alex Lynn

On World Environment Day, Nokian Tyres reminded everyone how drivers can impact air pollution. Car owners have more ways to make environmentally friendly choices than they may realise. One way is choosing tyres with a lower rolling resistance: this will save fuel and reduce CO2 emissions.

Nokian Tyres works hard to make tyres greener: the rolling resistance of its tyres has been reduced by eight percent in average compared to 2013. This equals to the exhaust fumes of 65,000 cars.

Rolling resistance refers to the energy lost when the tyre is moving as you drive. The lower the rolling resistance, the less energy is lost and less fuel needed. Better fuel efficiency affects positively the environment and the driver’s carbon footprint by reducing CO2 emissions. For electric cars lower rolling resistance means also longer driving range.

Here’s a powerful example of the impact of rolling resistance: reportedly, if all passenger cars in Finland, Sweden and Norway used low rolling resistance Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 winter tyres over the product’s life cycle instead of other premium winter tyres, benefits would be remarkable. The fuel savings would be nearly 300 million litres and carbon dioxide emissions would decrease by some 710,000 tons.

In EU, traffic is estimated to form around 24% of the greenhouse gas emissions. The target is to reduce GHG emissions by 20% by 2020 compared with the levels of 1990. Stricter targets set by EU will apply from 2021 on.

Premium tyre manufacturers like Nokian Tyres are actively working to reduce rolling resistance by developing advanced rubber compounds and introducing new innovative tread designs and tyre constructions.

“Our engineers work hard to keep up the good work: our goal is to reduce the rolling resistance of each new tyre generation without compromising safety,” said Teppo Huovila, Nokian Tyres’ vice president of quality and sustainability.

Nokian Tyres claims that over 90% of its tyres are in the best rolling resistance categories A, B or C. To give some perspective: the most common passenger car tyre label in the market is in the E category (ETRMA analysis, October 2018). A class summer tyre that has a correct tyre pressure can save up to 0.5 litres of fuel per 100km compared to the lowest performing tyres.

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