Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. introduced a new line of fuel-sipping tractor and trailer tires at its San Angelo, TX, proving grounds. Based on the tire maker's Unisteel product, the Fuel Max line uses a new rubber compound and tread design for improved fuel economy.

“The new rubber compound we're using is responsible for 80% of the fuel savings achieved with this tire line,” said Jon Bellissimo, Goodyear's director of technology for commercial tires.” Even though in the controlled conditions of the proving grounds fuel economy improved by 8%, Goodyear expects that in the real world fleets will experience at least a 4% gain in fuel economy using Fuel Max tires.

A 4% gain for a truck averaging 6 mpg translates to 6.24 mpg, he said. Assuming 120,000 miles a year and a diesel price of $2.85/gal., using Fuel Max tires could save a fleet $2,100 per year, per truck. That far outweighs the 4% to 5% higher price premium Fuel Max tires will have over Goodyear's current OTR tire, Bellissimo added.

The Fuel Max line is comprised of three tire types: Unisteel G395 steer, G305 LHS drive, and G316 trailer. Unicircle Fuel Max retread and precure models are available for both the drive and trailer tires.

The Unicircle retread and precure options “means fleets can use Fuel Max tread and cap compounds on existing tire casings in the retread process,” said Bellissimo. “They don't have to buy a new tire to get the Fuel Max advantage.”

In terms of mileage, Bellissimo said fleets should find new Fuel Max steer and trailer tires comparable to non-Fuel Max treaded tires. However, fleets will see slightly less mileage in the drive position.

“We're including a Fuel Max calculator along with this rollout so fleets can input their own data to see if these tires with their fuel-saving design are going to save them money. I think they'll find they will.”