What are the most fuel-efficient tyres?

By Julia Freeman

The cost of living is at an historic high, but the same can’t be said for wages. Whether you need to stretch the pound in your pocket or because you want to save the planet, everybody cares about fuel economy. Fuel-efficient tyres can help.

falken car tyre

Tyre design

Tyres are designed to do many things; they have to grip hard in different weather conditions, wear as slowly as possible, keep their shape under high loads, roll quietly, stand up to rough roads, and offer little resistance when you accelerate. Tyre designers try to tick all these boxes but that is hard to do: how can they grip hard but not resist acceleration?
 
In fact, some of the best tyres succeed in ticking every box but cost more to produce. Others decide to specialise in order to be the best motorsport tyre, or the best off-roader. It is up to the motorist to decide which performance characteristics they want the most, and which matter the least.
 
That is something to remember when you look for the most fuel-efficient tyres. There is little saving (either to your pocket or the environment) if your tyres save you a little per gallon but wear out 5000 miles earlier.

How to recognise fuel-efficient tyres

Government regulations require tyre makers to label tyres with a fuel efficiency rating between A and G. Always remember that these are guidelines only and not guarantees since each vehicle is different, every road is different, and all drivers are different. On average however, an A-rated tyre uses about 7% less fuel than a G-rated one to travel the same distance.
 
When you look at the fuel efficiency figure, don't forget to look at the other specifications to see what other characteristics you might be sacrificing. Never buy a tyre based solely on its energy performance; always choose one matched to your vehicle and driving conditions.

Tyre sizes

Our tyre professionals don't recommend modifying tyre sizes unless your user manual allows a choice. In any case, it depends upon the car and how you use it. Low powered engines struggle harder to turn larger wheels and waste more fuel, but with a larger engine you will cruise more efficiently and save fuel. In town traffic, the constant starts and stops favour smaller wheels. Wider tyres are always less efficient because they are heavier and grip more road. Lower profiles reduce your rolling resistance because they are stiffer, but that means a harsher ride.
 
Be aware that the characteristics of some tyre families vary greatly between tyres of a different size or load rating.

Most tyre companies now offer "eco" tyres. Generally speaking, these have excellent fuel economy. However, the word "eco" can also just mean they use a higher proportion of recycled rubber. That isn't necessarily a bad thing but do be sure to check the detailed specifications. Notable “eco” ranges include Bridgestone Ecopia and Michelin’s Energy Saver series.
 
Leading high-performance tyres such as the Bridgestone Turanza T005 and Michelin Primacy 4 are great all-rounders, including for fuel efficiency (significantly improved from the Bridgestone Turanza T001 and Primacy 3). They are consistent across all tyre sizes and ratings. Continental’s ContiEcoContact series (including the Conti.eContact for electrics and the AllSeasonContact) also deserve a mention.
 
Usually more affordable (and quieter) are the excellent Falken Azenis and Pirelli Cinturato P7. Be aware, however, that Pirelli Cinturatos vary substantially between different tyre sizes.

Book with Protyre

If you have any difficulty in choosing the best tyres for your vehicle, our tyre professionals are always happy to offer advice. Call in at any Protyre garage or book an appointment through our website.

Book with Protyre

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About the author

Article Author Photo
By Julia Freeman
Julia is Head of Retail Marketing for Protyre and loves engaging with customers and the business as a whole to make sure Protyre is more than just a local garage.
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