SAN ANGELO, TX. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is rolling out a new line of fuel-sipping tractor and trailer tires designed to help fleets and owner-operators improve fuel economy by up to 8%.

The Fuel Max tires, unveiled here at Goodyear’s San Angelo proving grounds, are based on the company’s Unisteel product, yet use a new rubber compound and tread design to help fleets save on fuel, said Jon Bellissimo, Goodyear’s director of technology for commercial tires.

See Proving ground purgatory for tires

“The new rubber compound we’re using is responsible for 80% of the fuel savings achieved with this tire line,” he told FleetOwner. “And while fuel testing here at our proving grounds [using SAE’s Type II fuel economy test format] gave us an 8% improvement in fuel economy, no fleet drives at a constant speed on flat terrain for 10 hours. So in the real world, fleets should at least gain a 4% improvement in fuel economy using our Fuel Max tires.”

Bellissimo said a 4% gain for a truck averaging 6 mpg translates to 6.24 mpg. Assuming 120,000 miles a year and a diesel price of $2.85 per gallon, 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 over-the-road tire, he 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, he 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 as the 26/32nd G305 Fuel Max tires offer shallower tread than a typical 30/32nd drive tire. The retread version offers 24/32nd of tread depth and the precure model has just 22/32nd.

“Yes, you are going to get less mileage, but you must factor that against the fuel savings,” said Bellissimo. “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.”

The tires will be produced at Goodyear’s Topeka, KS, and Danville, VA, tire plants.

To comment on this article, write to Sean Kilcarr at