'Eco' tyres are the key to saving fuelWhich? test finds fuel-efficent tyres can save 6%

03 April 2012

With fuel prices at a record high, Which? recommends choosing more fuel-efficient tyres to help you car achieve better miles per gallon (mpg).

Keep tyre pressures up

But buying the best tyres to start with is very important

Maintaining the correct tyre pressures is always sensible

One way drivers can make sure their car isn't costing more than it should to fill up is by keeping tyre pressures at the recommended levels. Indeed, tyre manufacturer GT-Radial yesterday claimed under-inflated tyres could be costing drivers 10% more in fuel. 

But while Which? agrees motorists should keep tyre pressures topped up (to ensure safe handling and braking as well as to save fuel), our research suggests that buying more fuel-efficient tyres is likely to save more money at the pumps.

Choose the right tyres

Testing some popular tyres on a Peugeot 308, we measured an increase in fuel consumption of around 3% when we dropped tyre pressures by a substantial 15PSI (one Bar). The same exercise showed drastic changes to handling and braking, making running with the correct pressures crucial to a safe journey.

But your choice of tyre can actually make a bigger difference to fuel economy - so it's important to choose the best tyres from the outset and then maintain them properly.

'Eco' tyres can save 6% on fuel

In our latest tyre tests, one of  the sizes we assessed was 205/55 R16V - one of the UK's most widely fitted tyre sizes. The tyres which came top for fuel economy were the Pirelli Cinturato P7s and the Hankook Kinergy Eco K425, which both beat big names like the Continental PremiumContact 5, Goodyear OptiGrip and Bridgestone Turanza T001 for rolling resistance. 

In fact, fitted to a car returning 40mpg, either the Pirelli or the Hankook would give you an extra 2.4mpg (around 6%) compared with the worst tyre in our test for rolling resistance, the Nexen N8000. That equates to around £50 a year at today's record fuel prices. 

And given that the Pirelli was among the lowest priced tyres in our test batch (at £68 each), you'll be saving money from the moment you visit the tyre retailer.

About our tyre tests

Which? is the only independent tester of tyres in the UK and each year we push more tyres to the limits, to check how they do for all the key performance areas, including wet and dry grip and handling, braking and traction in straight lines and in bends. 

We also check every tyre for noise, fuel economy and wear - to help you choose the tyres that will save you money every day, and in the long run.

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