Energywise - Fuel Efficient Tyres FAQ
Where can I buy ENERGYWISE approved tyres?
You can ask any of our Mag & Turbo branches for an ‘ENERGYWISE approved tyre' or find out which ENERGYWISE approved tyres are available for your car by using the ENERGYWISE tyre selector tool, printing off the information and bringing that instore. (Please note: This will not be an accurate way of selecting a tyre if you have upgraded your mag wheels from the factory specifications).
How do tyres qualify?
ENERGYWISE approved fuel efficient tyres must meet performance benchmarks for both fuel efficiency and wet grip (stopping distance in the wet). Approved tyres must meet these benchmarks and their performance substantiated using internationally accepted test methods and standards.
Internationally there are a number of different labelling schemes that detail information about fuel efficiency and other performance criteria. The criteria for ENERGYWISE approved fuel efficient tyres are similar to the criteria used in schemes in Japan, Korea, and the European Union. What is different about the New Zealand scheme is that it is a simple approval mark to make it easy to identify which tyres are better for fuel efficiency and wet braking, instead of a complex label with different grades of performance.
The lower the rolling resistance of the tyre, the less force needed to turn the wheels and therefore the less fuel consumed. Manufacturers are able to achieve fuel efficiency and safety gains by making improvements to the design, construction, and materials used for a tyre.
What is rolling resistance?
Rolling resistance is the resistance to forward motion that occurs when a round object rolls on a surface. The biggest influence on rolling resistance is the way the tyre flexes with each rotation as it rolls along. Flexing results in energy being ‘lost' as heat. Research shows that the rolling resistance of tyres can vary significantly, which means there can be a significant difference in total vehicle fuel consumption between the best - and the worst-performing tyre, by up to 7.5%.
What different materials are used for fuel efficient tyres?
Manufacturers are able to achieve fuel efficiency improvements by making changes to the design and construction of a tyre, and also the materials used. For example, many fuel efficient tyres have silica in the compounds that make up a tyre. This is effective because reduced rolling resistance can be gained without compromising safety: silica acts as a dampener between the rubber particles, which reduces friction and heat (and therefore rolling resistance), while increasing the flexibility of the compound (improving road holding and mitigating any stopping-distance trade-off).
Do fuel efficient tyres work on NZ Roads?
Yes. Research conducted by OPUS Central Laboratories on behalf of EECA in 2012 confirmed that fuel efficient tyres can lead to fuel savings in New Zealand, despite road surfaces that differ from other countries where such tyres are produced or sold (many New Zealand roads have coarse chip seal which differs from that used in many other countries).
Are fuel efficient tyres safe?
Yes. In fact tyres qualifying for the ENERGYWISE approval mark must meet performance benchmarks for rolling resistance (fuel efficiency) and wet grip (stopping distance in the wet) on top of the safety and construction requirements under New Zealand rules and legislation. The ENERGYWISE approval mark is the first time New Zealand consumers have been able to easily identify a tyre that meets key performance criteria for safety and fuel efficiency.
How do I know if tyres are ENERGYWISE approved?
To be registered as an ENERGYWISE approved fuel efficient tyre, tyre manufacturers, importers or distributors need to submit registrations for approval through EECA. If the registration is approved, the tyre manufacturers, importers or distributors (and their distribution outlets) can promote those tyres with the ENERGYWISE approval mark. You can find out which ENERGYWISE approved tyres are available for your car by going to the ENERGYWISE website and using the tyre selector tool, printing off the information and bringing that instore. (Please note: This will not be an accurate way of selecting a tyre if you have upgraded your mag wheels from the factory specifications).
Can I use fuel efficient tyres in combination with the other standard tyres I have on my car?
Yes. You may already have some tyres in good condition on your car and only want to replace the worn tyres with ENERGYWISE approved tyres. While two ENERGYWISE approved tyres are better than none, you won't get the same level of benefit (fuel saving and safety) as replacing all four tyres. Your tyre professional will be able to advise whether the two ENERGYWISE approved tyres should be fitted to the front or rear of the vehicle.
I have replaced my old tyres with ENERGYWISE approved ones and can't see any fuel savings.
Care must be taken when comparing fuel consumption for a vehicle with used tyres against a vehicle with new tyres. As the tread of any tyre wears down, fuel efficiency improves - a bald tyre has in fact very low rolling resistance, but it is not safe. So if you don't see an immediate improvement in fuel consumption your old tyres may have had very low tread.
To compare fuel efficiency objectively, it is important to compare new fuel efficient tyres with other new tyres. There may also be other factors impacting on fuel consumption such as your driving style (smooth vs energetic), driving type (urban vs rural), and driving conditions (dry vs wet, warm vs cold). To find out how to save fuel through fuel efficient driving check out the driving tips on the ENERGYWISE website.
How much will I save?
The amount saved will depend on a range of factors, including your vehicle's stated fuel economy, the price of fuel, the difference in rolling resistance between your chosen fuel efficient tyre and another standard tyre, the total distance travelled on the set of tyres, and whether there is a difference in price.
EECA estimates that with four fuel efficient tyres fitted, an average consumer can save $500 over the life of the tyres, or up to 15c a litre every time they drive. This is calculated based on the following assumptions:
- Vehicle fuel efficiency: 10 litres/100km
- Cost of fuel (petrol): $2.20
- Fuel saving due to tyres: 7%
- Having a set of four fuel efficient tyres
- Tyre life: 40,000km
Price difference between fuel efficient and standard tyre: $25 (per tyre)
Don't these tyres cost more?
It depends on what tyre you would normally choose. ENERGYWISE approved tyres will likely cost more than the cheapest option available, but other tyres may not meet the minimum standards for fuel efficiency or safety (braking in the wet). The payback on a set of four fuel efficient tyres is around six months, assuming a premium of $25 per fuel efficient tyre fitted to a vehicle with an average fuel consumption of 10 litres per 100 km driving the average distance of 12,000 km per year. Alternatively, if the cost of the ENERGYWISE approved tyre is similar to the tyre you would otherwise have chosen, you will start saving from day one.
Why aren't you offering consumers comparative information, as done in Europe?
The ENERGYWISE approval mark is a voluntary scheme. The comparative labels used overseas with detailed information on various aspects of tyre performance are mandatory. Our research indicated a simple approval mark - with specifications that tyres either meet or don't - would be more influential and helpful for New Zealand consumers than providing complex information.
I have heard about carboNZero certified tyres. How does this relate to ENERGYWISE approved tyres?
The carboNZero programme is greenhouse gas certification scheme by the private sector. When you buy a carboNZero certified product it means that the product has zero net GHG emissions. It means the organisation that made the product has measured how much the product impacts on the environment in terms of its raw materials, production or manufacture, and transport to point of retail - but not while in use. For all emission sources, the organisation has taken measures to manage and reduce and mitigate the net climate change impact to zero.
The ENERGYWISE approval mark focuses on the performance of the tyre on the road (and therefore its ability to influence the fuel consumed by the vehicle). The less fuel consumed by cars, the lower the CO2 emissions from the transport sector. Some tyres which are carboNZero certified are also ENERGYWISE approved.
All information and testing courtesy of © EECA 2014