Weight Savings & Fuel Economy - Tire Review Magazine

Weight Savings & Fuel Economy

While cost savings will vary depending on vocation, application and operating conditions, states a Kenworth White Paper published a few years ago, weight savings can improve the lifecycle cost of a vehicle in two respects: increased payload capacity and better fuel economy.

“Lighter weight reduces the amount of horsepower required to overcome mechanical resistance of the drivetrain and tires while driving,” the paper said. “Based on $2.50 per gallon fuel and 125,000 miles annually, 1,000 lbs. of weight savings on a single vehicle can generate up to $250 in annual fuel savings. For a 500 truck fleet, lightweight specs could lower fuel costs by nearly $150,000 annually.”

While fuel costs today are much higher, the example Kenworth provides is still valid. To determine how weight reduction could lower fuel costs, the OEM suggests using the following formula:

Fuel Savings = Weight Savings x Tire Rolling Coefficient x BSFC x Miles/Year x Fuel Cost/Gallon x Number of Trucks divided by Conversion Constant.

As defined by the OEM, the standard Tire Rolling Coefficient for radials is 0.006; BSFC (Brake Specific Fuel Consumption) measured in lb./HP – hr. is 0.35; Conversion Constant (for English units such as pounds, miles, horsepower) is 2,700. Using the example above:

1,000 lbs. x 0.006 x 0.35 x 125,000 x $1.50 x 500/2,700 = $72,917.

One weight and fuel saving option that is growing in popularity are super wide single tires. What kind of fuel economy that wide single tires can provide? A lot…if only because a great deal of the fuel consumption attributable to tires is the result of sidewalls flexing with each revolution. With super wide singles, there are half as many sidewalls flexing, something Bridgestone Americas estimates could result in savings of 2% to 5% on fuel.

Bridgestone Greatec super wide radials, for example, are available in the 445/50R22.5 size, equivalent in overall diameter to regular low-profile radials for 22.5-inch wheels. Depending on the types of tires and wheels converted, Greatec radials could reduce overall vehicle weight by 600 to 1,200 or more pounds.

In addition to directly converting vehicle weight into revenue-paying load, according to the manufacturer, Greatec radials could also provide fuel economy advantages in comparison to conventional, non-fuel-efficient dual tire assemblies. Actual fuel savings will vary, depending on vehicle configuration, how many axles are converted, what tires were used previously and other factors.

Michelin also touts the fuel savings advantages of its super wide singles. The manufacturer sells its line of X One radials, which it says are designed to provide a combined weight savings in a range from 740 to 1,370 lbs. per tractor-trailer combination, or close to 200 lbs. per axle. Using 6 mpg, 100,000 miles per year and fuel costs of $2 per gallon for comparison purposes, the company says X One tires can deliver fuel savings of at least 4%.

Some of the weight-savings associated with super wide tires is from the concurrent use of aluminum wheels. Alcoa aluminum 14-inch wide wheels in place of duals, according to the company, can save 318 lbs. per axle and up to 1,272 lbs. per combination vehicle.

Alcoa aluminum 14-in. wide base wheels weigh 71 lbs. each and are load rated up to 12,800 lbs. But weight isn’t the only reason to choose a wide base configuration, the company states. Benefits include fuel efficiency because wide base wheel and tire assemblies have half as many flexing sidewalls as a set of duals. Less flexing leads to greater fuel efficiency, the company adds, with some fleets experiencing fuel savings of three to seven percent.

Tim Miller of Goodyear does add a note of caution about super wide tires. “From a weight-savings standpoint, converting from conventional tires on steel wheels to wide-base tires on aluminum rims can save over 1,000 lbs. in total vehicle weight,” he said. “It is true that wide singles may have less rolling resistance than many conventional tires but, with recent advances in fuel efficient tire designs, the difference can be nearly impossible to measure in real-world situations.”

As for calculating savings potential in cost-per-mile with wide base singles, Miller advises to factor in weight, fuel economy, downtime, retreadability and vehicle resale. Spec’ing for fuel economy by reducing vehicle weight, it seems, requires a measured approach.

You May Also Like

Training and Technology Will Lead the Way in OTR Tires

When we look at how OTR tires keep up with innovations in equipment, it’s all about maximizing productivity.


After two years of probably the strangest logistics we've lived through—and a roller coaster ride of an economy—the OTR tire market is surprisingly robust. The construction industry has slowed down slightly, and there's a lot of talk about a recession, but so far, we haven't seen a lot of publicly or privately funded projects pull back, and quarries and mines are running hard. All that activity is good for the tire industry.

Last-Mile Delivery Tires Set to Outpace Long-Haul Tire Volumes

Prior to the pandemic, the last-mile delivery (LMD) market was booming. So, when COVID-19 hit, and newly-homebound consumers placed even more online orders — retailers like Amazon shortened delivery times to two days, one day, or even same-day services — and the segment exploded. Related Articles – Maxam Tire Completes Core Size Range for Agrixtra

Global Tire Manufacturer Ralson Enters US TBR Market

Global tire manufacturer Ralson is entering the U.S. commercial tire market with a new medium/heavy truck tire manufacturing facility and a team of veteran American sales and marketing tire professionals. Ralson debuted its products for the US with its American team at the 2022 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Related Articles – Hankook Tire Launches

Michelin Releases Agilis HD Z as New Urban and Regional Tire

Michelin North America has released the Michelin Agilis HD Z 19.5 in two sizes to offer fleets with light and medium-duty vehicles durable, long-lasting tires optimized for the stresses of urban and regional environments. The Agilis HD Z 19.5-in. tires will replace the Michelin XZE in two current sizes (225/70R19.5 LRG and 245/70R19.5 LRH) in

Yokohama Tire Launches the 716U UWB Regional Drive Tire

Yokohama Tire’s newest commercial tire – the 716U ultra wide-base – is a weight-savings drive tire that carries more profitability for fleets, the company says. It is available now in the US in size 455/55R225. Related Articles – Vredestein Launches New Pinza H/T in US – Goodyear Adds Wrangler HT Tire to Light Truck Lineup


Other Posts

Continental Debuts Enthusiast-Driven ExtremeContact Sport 02

From timed autocross laps to drifting on a skid pad and mastering knee-jerk braking and turns on a raceway, dealers, influencers and members of the media were treated to a crash course in performance racing while testing out Continental’s newest UHP summer tire, the ExtremeContact Sport 02. Related Articles – BKT Tires Launches Agrimaxfactor Tire

BKT Tires Launches Agrimaxfactor Tire For Tractors

BKT has launched the Agrimaxfactor, a new tire series for tractors for transport and soil tillage operations. Related Articles – Continental Tire Launches ExtremeContact Sport02 – BKT Launches EM 933 Super Excavating Tire – Kenda Unveils Vezda Touring 4S, its First ‘Four-Season’ Offering The company says it developed the series in response to the request

Michelin’s Enviro System Unveils Tire with 58% Sustainable Materials

Michelin says its subsidiary Scandinavian Enviro Systems is the first tire manufacturer in the world to unveil tires with a high proportion of environmentally sustainable materials that have been approved for use on ordinary road vehicles. These include tires for buses and cars containing recovered carbon black from Enviro, among other materials. Related Articles –

Cooper Unveils Largest Tire in its Discoverer Rugged Trek Line

At the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company unveiled the biggest tires yet in its Cooper Discoverer Rugged Trek tire line. Designed for lifted pickup trucks, these all-new, large-sized tires feature signature Cooper Knife-Edge and Mountain Pass customizable sidewall designs and will be available to consumers in early 2023.