Replacing tires

wanting to use a tire company with sustainable/green practices and was told Bridgestone.

I have not found a tire to fit my car (VW Jetta GL 1996, 195/6014) so the shop offered a 185. When I asked what was difference they said not as wide.

Can you see any problems with this?

Also I live in Louisville, KY and it is currently the “wet” season and want to have a tire that will be good in this environment.

If not Bridgestone, is there an alternative manufacturer you recommend that has green/sustainable business practices?

thanks for your help on this.

I did not buy this particular brand for its “greenness”, however they are for a tire company:

Mollie, Are You Kidding? I’ll Bite. What Is A “Green / Sustainable Business Practice” ? I Have No Idea. What Does It Have To Do With Buying Tires? This Must Be A Set-Up.


Sorry Mollie, but if your priorities are “Green and Sustainable” then you must give up private car ownership and everything that entails. Tires are made out of rubber, carbon, sulfur and oil. There is no such thing as a “Green” tire…Sustainable?? Time will tell…Don’t install undersized tires. 195/60/14 is a fairly common size. Shop around.

Molly; I don’t personally believe one tire company is any more sustainable than any other. Where I live there is an environmental levy of $5 on each new tire sold, and ALL TIRES get recycled; they do not go to the landfill.

Germany is the only country I know of that requires the manufacturers to provide facilities for recycling, that includes tires. However, German companies, such as Continental, do no such thing in North America.

If you want to drive in an environmentally sustainable manner, drive as little as possible, drive the smallest car you fit in ( Toyota Yaris, Hyundai Accent, Smart car), and carefully maintain the car to have it live a very long life.

Most “environmental, green, or sustainable” claims are bogus. I think you are geting caught up in the hype.

The most sustainable car company I know is Toyota; their plants have a “zero to landfill” policy. Where I live the Toyota plant only sends some of its cafetaria waste to the landfill! Everything else is either recycled in the plant or shipped to a proper hazardous waste treatment plant.

Although Volkswagen is a responsible car company in Germany as required by law, owning one in the US is very UNSUSTAINABLE. The very high cost of parts, maintenance and repairs make these cars live a much shorter life than other similar cars. Your Volkswagen in the US will get recycled when it dies, but only the steel and the lead in the battery is recovered. The rest goes up in smoke.

If you are intent on buying a set of Bridgestone tires, just be sure that you DON’T buy their Potenza RE-92 (or 92-A) tires. These tires have such poor traction on slick surfaces, even when new, that they are virtually indistinguishable from old, worn-out, bald tires.

Bridgestone should be ashamed for making such a crap tire, and the car makers who supply this on their new cars should be ashamed for selecting it.

Thanks for all your replies. Yes I know driving cars not so green, so I do what I can. And driving a car for a long time is one of them, this is a 1996 model!

I also am doing research about business practices and the products. I asked someone who knew more about this than I and got the following info (see below). He refers to CEP, the Council For Economic Priorities. They don’t have a working website so he sent the article. I am including here a link about CEP.

The person I asked for helps reply to me including the article below.

Couldn’t easily locate a couple of resources I wanted to check, but here’s a simple first-pass result. No justification here, just a simple ranking. The CEP website is not functioning, but presumably the phone number works, if you wanted to request the full 6-page report.

Worst and Best
Green Auto Tire Companies
The Council For Economic Priorities has been conducting research on the automobile industry’s environmental record. In view of the soon blossoming hybrid market, it might be of interest to Electrifying Times reader to do some checking up on the other environmental impacts the auto industry has besides emissions. Some of these results are posted on their website at These are the highlights and lowlights …
The study reveals that the two “greenest” car lines - Mitsubishi and Honda - are actually made in the “dirtiest” U.S. production plants.
To read Mitsubishi’s reply go to:
The Consumer Research Report, “The Worst and Best Auto & Tire Companies,” published in their January/February 99 newsletter, gives Mitsubishi and Honda top marks as the manufacturers of the most fuel-efficient car lines, but ranks them as the overall worst performers in the manufacturing category.
“The only benchmark for environmental friendliness routinely disclosed to consumers when buying an auto is fuel efficiency,” said Alice Tepper Marlin, President of CEP. "Our new study reveals some unpleasant surprises when the manufacturing process is also taken into account."
Car models such as Honda’s Civic and Mitsubishi’s Mirage-long valued by eco-conscious consumers for their fuel-efficiency-are actually not as “green” as consumers assume, when the high levels of pollution produced by their manufacture are considered. Chrysler-which is cited as having the “cleanest” auto production facilities in the U.S.-produces vehicles that are below average in fuel efficiency in their respective classes.
The report compiled emission and release levels of various toxic pollutants from the manufacturing facilities using EPA data. CEP encourages the Big Three manufacturers, Chrysler, GM and Ford, to make greater strides to improve the fuel efficiency of such low-ranking vehicles as Chrysler’s Jeep Grand Cherokee, General Motors’ Chevy Cavalier and Ford’s Taurus.
“Auto manufacturers can no longer merely hide behind a single factor claim that their product is environmentally friendly-environmental concern must inform their production processes and their product.” stated Romi Chin Gottfrid, CEP’s Environmental Research Associate and an author of the report.
The study also ranked tire manufacturers’ production processes for their overall environmental quality. Michelin has the worst production process, in terms of the quantity of its waste emissions, and Bridgestone/Firestone, the best.
The six-page Consumer Research Report researched by Romi Gottfrid and Amy Muska O’Brienis available free by contacting CEP at 1-800-729-4237.
Auto Companies

  1. Chrysler (Best)
  2. General Motors
  3. BMW
  4. Ford
  5. Nissan
  6. Toyota
  7. Honda< P> 8. Mitsubish>(Worst)

Tire Companies

  1. Bridgestone/Firestone(Best)
  2. Continental/General Tire
  3. Goodyear
  4. Cooper
  5. Michelin(Worst)

You Can Make Yourself Sick Worrying About This Kind Of Stuff And Never Determine If You Are Doing The Right Thing Or Not.

There is just no way to determine and compare the environmental impact of various cars, tires, companies, etcetera, due to the complexity of all the variables. Environmental science deals continuously in trade-offs.

Apparently Hybrid Cars save some gas, but cause more impact by using valuable mined resources for batteries and using an inordinate amount of tires.

Who really knows if crushing a 96 Jetta Jetta and having a factory produce a new hybrid car causes less environmental impact that just running the Jetta until the wheels fall off?

Just live your life in a normal, sane, conservative manner and don’t go nuts or make yourself sick trying to figure it out.

There I feel better. Now, it’s a little late, but what problem(s) are we tring to solve here?

Pollution? Water, air, land?

Climate change? If so, warming or cooling, natural or man-made?

Energy savings for economy of energy independence?

All of the above, save the planet?

Am I missing something?


Yeah. It amazes me how good the AWD system Subaru has for their vehicles, yet they choose such a horrid tire to roll them out of the factory on.

Also, the OP should look at for tires in their vehicle’s size

According to Firestone website, they have at least two Bridgestone tires that may suit your needs. One is the infamous Potenza RE92 that you don’t want. The other is a Potenza RE960 Pole Position.

I would go to and see if there are any reviews of this tire there. That way you can make an informed decision about the tire itself and your driving conditions. As a vaguely recall, the RE960 is a decent tire.

If you want this tire, order it on line through firestone complete car care website, and you get some level of discount compared to walking into the store.

thanks so much for the info about the Potenza RE960 Pole Position and Found the issue about size there… saying the 185 is standard and 195 optional.
And they did a comparison so I could review that way with prices and all.
Really helpful!

You will drive yourself nuts trying to find out this kind of stuff, I’ve seen reports like this based on very limited information, reaching the wrong conclusions. What you can do is manage what you do, like keeping your car in excellent shape, driving in ways to minimize fuel use, that kind of thing. I would buy tires that maximize mpgs and have long tread life, as long as they have good wet traction. A recent Consumer Reports has a tire report that addresses some of these issues.

I have the RE960’s on a Subaru WRX and cannot think of a single negative aspect about them. They may be more performance than you need however excellent.

Mollie. I admire you for thinking green and sustainable, but not everything we need to do fits in with how we choose to think and live. This is one example. A tire is a tire is a tire. They are pretty much all made of the same material and in the same way. Go to a tire dealer. He will quickly enter your car in a computer and quickly come up with three or four sizes that are listed for your vehicle. Get the one that’s safest for driving in the rain. Lots of companies for all kinds of products are promoting themselves as “green” and “sustainable”. Most of those claims are cynical BS put out by the marketing department. Let this one go Mollie.

Mollie; a recent study by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), did an automobile life cylce energy use analysis and found that 18-20% of the total life cycle energy use and impact was in building the cars. A Toyota lasts about twice as long as a Chrysler product, so it uses one half the manufacturing energy per lifetime, aside from some extra replacement parts.

So a Consumer Reports study that says Chrysler is the lowest impact is meaningless if you have to DOUBLE that impact because they only last half as long. As others point out, Michelin X tires have the highest mileage (life) rating and also very low fuel consumption ratings. That negates any disadvantages they may have in the manufacturing process.

Would you choose shoes made in a more environmentally friendly way if they only lasted half as long?

The only highly rated Bridgestone or Firestone tires are the Bridgestone Turanza with Serenity, and they are available in your size according to Tire Rack. They are grand touring, all-season radials and will be priced accordingly.