Are lower rolling resistance tires worthe higher co$t?

An EMS volunteer says the tires are more expensive.

Over their life, do they savenough fuel to pay for their greater expen$e?

Any recommendations on such tires for a 2005 Toyota Corolla and/or 2008 Expedition?

(When thExpedition M&S tires wear out, and we have snow tires on their own wheels, should we replace the M&S tires with highway treads?

Thank you.


Low rolling resistance tires are good, but are they worth the higher price? Now that is the question? How much higher is the price? It is likely more marketing than real savings. On a hybrid with specifically designed for the tires it might make an important difference. In standard cars, a Corolla and Expedition, I’d say mostly hype and no real advantage.

According to CR, In the past, “consumers had to weigh a trade-off between low rolling resistance and other performance attributes?such as good dry- and wet-weather grip for stopping and cornering.” Good tire performance in different categories is often a compromise. A few are better now but at what cost ? I wonder if the added cost is ever made up by the fuel savings.

[quote=“dagosa”]According to Consumer Reports, lower resistance tires give up something in traction. Good tire performance in different categories is often a compromise. You can’t have it all. Is it worth it ?[/quote]I do not even knowhat performance is.
Mostly I drive smoothly with gentle accelerations and decerations, coasting when possible to avoid braking.
To save fuel and pollution, I am usually under 55 mph, which also avoids hydroplanning.

Happy motoring

Thanks for the link.
The chart showing many tires is nice.
I wish they would also show the prices.
They do not indicate rolling resistance.

Most highway all(ie:three) season tires are M+S rated. All the M+S rating means is that at least 25% of the tire’s tread is void space; it is not an indicator the tire has any real capability in mud or snow.

I really don’t think rolling resistance should be high on the priority list for a vehicle that’s used to schlep blood to hospitals. I would be looking at traction, durability, and price in that order. It used to be that low rolling resistance tires sacrificed grip and longevity; I imagine some progress has been made in recent years though.

Durability and price are important to us. (We’re all volunteer and pay everything ourselves.)
Traction is not an issue unless that also indicates stopping distance if panic-braking.
Have never panic-braked.
If lowered rolling resistance saves fuel, that would be nice, if it is worth the cost.

We have made the vehicle as light as possible. Wish I could remove the trailer hitch.
(In the '99 Expedition I removed the hitch, third seat, roof rack crossmembers.)
Now if we could just get rid of the light bar to lower windrag and change to LEDs to lower alternator load.

Trying to coax miles per gallon out of a full sized SUV is akin to using a dixie cup to try to bail out a sinking aircraft carrier.

Traction does include all aspects of driving, braking being an important part. It would really suck if someone died because the people charged with bringing them blood were too cheap and or uniformed to make a proper tire buying decison. As you have mentioned before you’re doing a serious service it can literally be the difference of life and death. and despite overwhelming opinion by people who know what they are talking about you’ve dismissed the advice at nearly every turn. If you’re not willing to do the job properly then perhaps you should let some other people who aren’t concerned about playing games with the roof rack in order to eek out an extra 0.02 MPG, handle the job.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a noble thing that you’re doing, but it seems you’re doing everything in your power to make your duty more complex than it has to be.

Given the way gas prices go up and down, how do you even calculate your savings? You can’t know whether gas will be 2.50 or 4.50+ per gallon over the life of the tires. For your usage, I would get the tires with the best traction. Or better yet, use the Corolla and sell the Expedition. If gas goes back up over $4 per gallon, you’ll have trouble even giving away the Expedition.

There is a technology triangle involving Rolling Resistance, Traction (especially wet traction), and Treadwear. Improvements in one of these properties results in degradations in another. OE tires are commonly low RR, and that’s why you find plenty of complaints about wear and / or traction.

But there are other ways to compensate for loss of traction or treadwear, but those also result in degradation in some other property - like noise. The bottomline is that nothing is for free. So if you are willing to live with the idea that an emergency braking manuever might result in a more severe accident - or that changing tires more often is OK, then there is some economic sense that LRR tires are cost efficient.

Oh, and whether or not a tire is all season or not - or whether it has good snow traction or not - does not affect its RR much. As stated earlier, there are ways to compensate and other things have a much greater affect on RR.

And some additional info:

You can do some simple math to get a sense if it’s worth it.
Compare your fuel cost over the life of the tires.

Fuel cost over life if tires is: [cost/mile * miles driven]
or: [gallons used/mile * cost/gallon * miles driven]

For example, let’s assume:

  • Your Explorer gets 20 mpg
  • Gas costs $3.00/gal
  • Miles driven for life of tires is 30,000.

Your fuel cost over the life of the tires becomes:
Cost = 1 mile/20gal * $3.00/mile * 30000 miles = $4500

If your low resistance tires give you one more mile/gallon, your cost becomes:

Cost = 1 mile/21gal * $3.00/mile * 30000 miles = $4286

In the above scenario, you would save $4500-$4286 = $215

“I do not even knowhat performance is.
Mostly I drive smoothly with gentle accelerations and decerations, coasting when possible to avoid braking.
To save fuel and pollution, I am usually under 55 mph, which also avoids hydroplanning.”

I guess I missed the part about 105 mph jaunts and avoiding the “other guy”. You can hydroplane at much less than 55 mph if the water is deep enough and the “puddle” unforeseen. That it requires high speed is a fallacy. If there is too much water for the tread depth to “channel away”, you risk hydroplaning regardless of speed.

Tires that have sufficient traction in all the conditions you might encounter is not, in my opinion, worth the trade off. CR has tested some outstanding tires that do offer both. But these are an added expense that an Expedition may not realize. That extra weight these SUVs are tempted to carry around, can easily off set any mileage gain.

My SUV always has emergency gear, boating gear and golf clubs for emergency golfing and sailing jaunts for example that always seem to pop up unexpectedly. :=)

You do better to keep an eye on your air pressure !

I do not even knowhat performance is. And I hope you never find out, but it is only when someone suddenly pulls out in front of you that you may find out. Never underestimate the possibility you may end up in an emergency situation.

Thanks, everyone.

Would LRR tires allow as much as 1 mile per gallon increase?
If the tires were less than $53 extra per tire, we would save a few dollars.

But if there is greater stopping distance, it may not be worth the savings if there were ever need to panic brake.

Funny, dag.
I’ve never experienced an “unforeseen” puddle.
I’m always looking ahead for such things.
Is middle 50s not the speed necessary to ride over water before sinking enough to keep good contact?

To optimize fuel savings I kepthe tires hard at 44 psi. (But many here say no more than 40 and better to do what Ford recommends - 35 psi.) (Is Ford saying 35 to make their vehicle more comfortable at our expense?)
Removed the roof rack crossmembers to lessen windrag.
Removed all weight possible.
Drive at 50 mph (always in right lane).
Accelerate gently.
Don’t increase speed going up hill or increase speed gradually.

When we must get new tires, I want to get the tallest possible.
Does siping increase fuel mileage?

We use the Toyota whenever possible.

Take a look at Consumer Reports July 10 issue. Tops in rolling resistance was Michelin Energy Saver A/S, one of the newer low rolling resistance tires. One compromise appears to be in the snow traction area. Pretty sure you can probably get this tire for the Corolla.

No, but they indicate tire speed ratings, treadwear, tire weight(which is important), load ratings, revs per mile(which will tell you how far off the speed/odometer can be off compared to others, and is just as important to fuel economy as rolling resistance).
They also list prices if you look over to the right. The price per tire I linked is $140 per tire, set of 4(which they also tell you) is $560

Trying to accomplish the IDEAL accumulating every little benefit possible.
Example: How many have roof racks which they NEVER use?
They should remove the crossmembers which add to windrag.
How many have hitches they will never use?
I would remove mine and reattach it only when needed.

If we can get snow tires on wheels, when the M&S tires wear out I would like to get highway treads for all the times roads are clean and dry - which is most of the time.
But, we may go to a mountain hospital where there is snow while the rest of the state is dry.

If your tire has low rolling resistance that’s a bonus. I shop for maximum tread life for summer tires and best traction for winter tires.

In both cases I end up with Michelin (X for summer and X-ICE for winter). I have also never had a balancing problem with Michelin tires.

The total cost for tires is largely a function of how long they last; the fuel economy part is a main preoccupation for the car companies to get that tiny extra fraction of economy to meet CAFE standards. In city driving the tires wear out mostly from turning corners and parking; fuel econonmy is almost irrelevant in city driving.

Don’t know if that link carried right. If cutting and pasting doesn’t work, go to and google low rolling resistance tires. Upshot: a good LRR tire could save about $52 a year on a Prius at 15K miles/year and gas at $2.50. With gas over $3.00 now (at least in my neck of the woods), I’d expect that to be a bit more. I’d also expect if you could find LRR tires for an Expedition, your absolute savings would be MORE than that. I’ve never been a big fan of the “Well, it’s an Expedition, you can’t do anything about gas mileage” True, it will never have Corolla-like mpg ratings, but saving even one MPG on something that big can make a significant difference–much more than saving 1 MPG on a Corolla.