Top 10 Best Tires for Fuel Economy: Latest Options

Although speed has always moved the automotive industry forward, efficiency is a close second. Everybody wants to save fuel, even owners of very fast cars with humongous engines. That is especially true in times when gas prices are soaring, like after the pandemic, which is why the demand for efficient hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric vehicles has been soaring recently.

But you can do some things to your existing car and save money on gas. For starters, driving more efficiently, i.e., more slowly, will go a long way in reducing fuel costs. You could also empty your trunk of unnecessary stuff that just adds weight and only drive your car when there is not too much traffic.

However, your tires can also significantly impact the fuel economy, maybe even more than other things. You could start by keeping them inflated to the recommended pressure at all times, as underinflated tires can substantially increase fuel consumption while also giving you less grip and worse handling.

And even if that wasn't enough, you could save money on gas by opting for low-rolling resistance tires. These tires are designed to have less friction than regular tires, meaning the engine will work less to achieve the same speed. On average, low rolling resistance tires will save you 2-3% of fuel, though it depends greatly on the model.

But apart from looking for the best tires for fuel economy, you also need to ensure they are good in other tires. Sure, saving money on gas is great, but you will also want tires that will keep you and your family safe, last longer, and potentially save you from paying thousands on repairs from possible accidents.

Hence, in this article, I covered only the best tires for fuel economy, i.e., models that also perform well in other areas, like giving you a safe and comfortable ride and long treadlife. So, without further ado, let's dig in and find suitable fuel-efficient tires for your vehicle!

Best Touring All-Season Tires for Fuel Economy

1. Continental TrueContact Tour

Continental-TrueContact-Tour

The TrueContact Tour is one of the most efficient all-season tires currently on sale, but one that also doesn't disappoint in other areas. I was particularly impressed with how it handles rainy conditions, especially since it's a budget-oriented tire for drivers of compact vehicles and older cars.

Continental made some great wet traction improvements across its range recently, and the TrueContact Tour is one of the best examples of its progress. Currently, Continental's touring all-season tire provides the shortest stopping distances in the category when it rains, accompanied by good acceleration traction.

Furthermore, the tire performs very well in the corners on wet tarmac. The handling is natural and balanced, and the TrueContact Tour is easy to control at the limit because it loses traction progressively. In addition, the lateral wet grip is excellent for a touring all-season tire.

Fortunately, Continental didn't sacrifice dry grip to achieve those amazing results in the rain. While the TrueContact Tour didn't outright impress me on dry roads, it was still among the most capable tires in the category. It accelerates and brakes as you would expect and provides a strong lateral grip. It does lag behind its closest premium rivals when pushed to the max, but you will never notice that on public roads.

Meanwhile, the TrueContact Tour excels on light snow, where it provides solid longitudinal traction (braking and acceleration) and feels stable in the corners. It won't replace a winter tire, though, as it struggles with unpacked snow and ice.

As for comfort, the TrueContact Tour is very quiet at speed and drives reasonably well over most surfaces. I found it to be a bit unsettled when driving over bad roads with sharp cracks, but most of the time, it rides well.

Finally, the TrueContact Tour comes with an 80,000-mile treadwear warranty on T-speed and H-speed-rated tires and a 70,000-mile warranty for V-speed-rated tires.

Not bad, considering you'll also be saving money on gas, thanks to the low rolling resistance, as all sizes offered in North America come with Continental's EcoPlus Technology.

Pros:

  • Best-in-class longitudinal traction on wet tarmac
  • Balanced handling in rainy conditions
  • Smooth ride over most types of roads
  • Quiet at highway speeds
  • Good treadlife and long treadwear warranty

Cons:

  • Lags behind its closest rivals on dry tarmac

2. Michelin Defender2

Michelin-Defender2

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Michelin's latest touring all-season tire employs the manufacturer's latest technologies to improve fuel economy, but also to extend treadlife. The French company says the Defender2 is the most durable tire in its category, with treadlife that exceeds that of the TrueContact Tour. Regardless, the Defender2 comes with a similar 80,000-mile treadwear warranty and comes only in H-speed-rated sizes.

Like most Michelin tires, the Defender2 also excels in other categories. I was especially satisfied with the dry grip, which is among the highest in the category. Not only that, but the steering also feels very sharp, and the handling is very balanced. The braking distances are also among the shortest in the category, which is probably the most important metric for safety.

I was also completely satisfied with how the Defender2 handled rainy conditions, though ultimately, the Continental TrueContact Tour takes the cake here. Namely, the Defender2 provides very good traction but feels a bit nervous at the limit, and it needs several more feet to stop from highway speeds.

Again, not something you'll probably notice when driving on the street, but important to note nonetheless. Besides, Michelin's touring all-season tire performs better than most of its rivals in the rain, anyway.

Snow traction didn't disappoint, though, as the Defender2 is easily among the best touring all-season tires there. The traction is usable, meaning short stopping distances, and the handling is surefooted and predictable. Still, like most all-season tires, the Defender2 struggles on deep and unpacked snow, especially on ice.

When it comes to comfort, the Defender2 feels a bit stiff over bumps, but it is in no way uncomfortable. I actually preferred this behavior, as it limits reverberations, especially when you go over bad roads. The noise is also well suppressed, even at highway speeds.

Pros:

  • An exceptional 80,000-mile treadwear warranty
  • It should last for a very long time
  • Excellent dry grip and balanced handling
  • Solid traction in rainy conditions
  • Very good braking, acceleration, and handling on snow
  • Smooth ride, even over bad roads
  • Quiet on the highway

Cons:

  • It is the most expensive touring all-season tire
  • Not as good in the rain as the class-leading touring all-season tires

3. Yokohama AVID Ascend LX

Yokohama-AVID-Ascend-LX

The AVID Ascend LX features Yokohama's BluEarth branding, meaning it's part of the company's eco-friendly lineup of tires. These products were designed to deliver environmentally, human, and socially friendly solutions, and a part of that is focused on low rolling resistance. The Yokohama AVID Ascend LX is indeed one of the most efficient tires on the market, with fuel economy gains that few other tires can match.

However, the Japanese tire has other qualities as well. For instance, it's the touring all-season tire with the longest warranty at 85,000 miles, which puts it above its premium rivals, even though it comes at a lower price point. Owners are also very satisfied with the real-world treadlife, so I won't doubt Yokohama here.

Furthermore, the Yokohama AVID Ascend LX performs very well on dry roads. It feels stable on the highway and under braking and provides some of the shortest stopping distances in the category.

It is also balanced and predictable in the corners, though the steering isn't as quick as I would've liked. Still, that's not a big issue here, as the AVID Ascend LX is a comfort-oriented tire.

However, what can be an issue for potential buyers is the average wet traction. The AVID Ascend LX isn't a bad rain tire in isolation, but the competition is simply better, both in terms of objective measurements and subjective feel. Yokohama's tire needs several more feet to stop than its closest rivals and, crucially, lacks precision in the corners and exhibits understeer.

Still, I was surprised at how well it handled snow-covered roads. Again, the traction on offer wasn't as good as that of its rivals, particularly the TrueContact Tour, but it was close enough. More importantly, the AVID Ascend LX felt balanced in the corners, and I never had issues keeping the vehicle in the desired line.

As for comfort, the AVID Ascend LX doesn't disappoint, but it also doesn't impress. The ride is actually buttery-smooth – perhaps the most comfortable of any touring tire I tried. However, there is a high-pitched noise on the highway that you can hear in the cabin, even over the wind noise.

Pros:

  • Excellent braking and lateral grip in dry conditions
  • Balanced handling and natural behavior at the limit
  • Exceptionally smooth ride over any type of surface
  • Good traction and drivability on light snow
  • Outstanding treadlife and class-leading treadwear warranty (85,000 miles)
  • Fairly priced for the performance it provides

Cons:

  • Lags behind its rivals in wet traction, grip, and braking
  • High-pitched noise at higher speeds

4. Goodyear Assurance MaxLife

Goodyear-Assurance-MaxLife

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The Goodyear Assurance MaxLife is a tire specifically designed to give you longer treadlife and better fuel economy, and it achieves them both. It comes with an 85,000-mile treadwear warranty, which matches the AVID Ascend LX for class-leading honors, but owners also report some amazing real-world treadlife. Independent tests also showed that it has very low rolling resistance, which translates into better fuel economy.

But the Assurance MaxLife is not on this list only because it is durable and efficient. It also performs daily tasks very well, particularly when the roads are dry. The lateral grip is surprisingly good for a touring tire, and the stopping distances are among the shortest in the category.

I was also pleased with how it handled in the corners, though I wished the steering was a bit quicker and didn't feel dead on center.

I didn't have any issues with how the Assurance MaxLife handled rainy conditions. It felt very surefooted in the corners while providing a very good overall grip. Moreover, it brakes like the best touring all-season tires out there and has excellent hydroplaning resistance.

However, you will need more concentration when driving on snow, as the Assurance MaxLife can't compete with the class-leading tires in outright traction. This is evident when you accelerate, steer, or brake, and especially when you compare it to tires like the Continental TrueContact Tour and Michelin Defender2.

As for comfort, the Assurance MaxLife isn't particularly smooth when driving over rough and broken tarmac, but it's solid otherwise. It is also very quiet, even when you hit highway speeds.

Pros:

  • Class-leading treadwear warranty (85,000 miles) and excellent real-world durability
  • Excellent braking and high lateral grip in dry conditions
  • Balanced handling in the rain and predictable behavior at the limit
  • Good braking in wet conditions
  • Quiet at higher speeds

Cons:

  • Limited grip on light snow when compared to other premium touring tires
  • The steering isn't very responsive
  • Not very comfortable over broken roads

Best Grand-Touring All-Season Tires for Fuel Economy 

5. Bridgestone Turanza QuietTrack

Bridgestone-Turanza-QuietTrack

The Turanza QuietTrack is Bridgestone's latest grand-touring all-season tire that focuses on delivering exceptional comfort, better fuel economy, and class-leading treadlife. However, the Japanese tire brand also made sure its bestseller performs well in other areas and competes favorably with most of its rivals.

Indeed, the Turanza QuietTrack is one of the most comfortable tires around. In my testing, it showed to be very composed over large road imperfections and sharp cracks while also providing a buttery-smooth ride on smooth roads. It is also very quiet – the noise it produces is low-pitched and covered by wind noise at higher speeds.

Overall, the Turanza QuietTrack feels like the most luxurious tire in its category, but does it combine that with competitive traction? You bet it does! Bridgestone's grand-touring tire competes with the best on dry roads and provides high lateral grip, accompanied by strong braking and natural handling. The steering is also very responsive and linear – a nice surprise for such a comfortable tire.

Rain also won't be an issue if you have a set of four Turanza QuietTrack tires on your vehicle. I found that the traction is comparable to the best grand-touring all-season tires; that is particularly true for the braking performance, which is exceptional. Not to mention, the tires always listen to you and behave predictably at the limit in wet conditions.

The Turanza QuietTrack also brakes on light snow very well and drives well in the corners. However, the lateral grip on snow is a step behind the class-leading tires, meaning you'll need to drive more slowly. Still, Bridgestone has another grand-touring all-season/all-weather tire, the WeatherPeak, which I tried a while ago and is a real beast on snow.

The WeatherPeak can't match the Turanza QuietTrack's longevity and rolling resistance, though. The Turanza QuietTrack comes with a class-leading 80,000-mile treadwear warranty, compared to 70,000 for its close relative, and leads to better fuel economy. Hence, that's the reason why it is on this list instead of Bridgestone's snow-capable grand-touring tire.

Pros:

  • Natural handling in rainy conditions
  • Very short stopping distances in the rain
  • Easy to drive on snow-covered roads
  • Short stopping distances on light snow
  • Excellent grip and handling in dry conditions
  • Class-leading treadwear warranty and excellent real-world treadlife
  • Supremely quiet, regardless of the speed
  • Very smooth ride on any type of road

Cons:

  • Lower lateral grip on snow than its closest premium rivals

6. Vredestein Quatrac Pro

Vredestein-Quatrac-Pro

The Quatrac Pro is one of the few grand-touring tires that is rated with the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake symbol while also delivering better fuel economy.

In other words, Vredestein's tire competes with other all-weather tires in winter conditions, like the Michelin CrossClimate 2 and Bridgestone WeatherPeak, while having lower rolling resistance.

The snow traction this tire provides is really impressive, especially considering it comes from a brand that North American buyers didn't know existed a few years ago. The Quatrac Pro brakes and accelerates almost like the class-leading CrossClimate 2 on snow and drives very well in the corners. It can even provide you with some ice traction, unlike regular grand-touring all-season tires.

But the tire from the reputable Dutch company impresses in other areas as well. I was impressed with how it handled rainy conditions, particularly when I pushed it hard. The Quatrac Pro felt eager to turn and always communicated the loss of traction well while providing excellent traction and short stopping distances.

Dry grip is also excellent for such a winter-focused tire – I could push the car harder than with some cheap grand-touring all-season tires, and when it lost traction, the Quatrac Pro did that gradually. The steering was also on point – quick and linear.

The thing that surprised me the most was the excellent general refinement, though. Although it has a fairly aggressive tread pattern with a high number of sipes, the Quatrac Pro is pretty quiet at higher speeds. Moreover, the ride is very smooth, even over broken roads.

However, there is a price to pay for all the great performance this tire provides, and that's treadlife. Although real-world experiences are largely positive, I doubt that the Quatrac Pro will match its rivals on longevity since it comes with a below-average 50,000-mile treadwear warranty.

Pros:

  • Very good dry grip for an all-season tire
  • Strong braking in dry conditions
  • Balanced handling in the rain
  • Excellent lateral and longitudinal traction on wet tarmac
  • Balanced handling on snow with excellent traction
  • Very smooth ride and quiet rolling on the highway

Cons:

  • Low treadwear warranty for the category

7. Continental PureContact LS

Continental-PureContact-LS

The Continental PureContact LS shows that you can have a good tire for fuel economy without sacrificing other aspects. Much like most other Continental tires, the PureContact LS excels with its traction abilities, regardless of the weather conditions outside.

For me, the steering was a bit of a letdown, to be honest, as it wasn't very linear, but in all other aspects, the PureContact LS was fantastic. Besides, I think that most drivers won't even notice the lack of steering precision when driving on the street, especially since the PureContact LS is easy to keep in the driving line.

As I said, though, the PureContact LS is all about outstanding traction. That is especially true in rainy conditions, where Continental's grand-touring all-season tire beats the competition in every possible metric. In other words, it needs the shortest distance to stop and provides the highest lateral speeds in the category. It is also very easy to modulate at the limit, and as a whole, the handling is very balanced.

I was equally impressed when tackling dry tarmac. Again, the PureContact LS amazes with the traction on offer, but also with how it handles in the corners. Here, more linear steering would've made the PureContact LS much better to drive, but that is nitpicking on my side.

Continental also didn't sacrifice snow traction – the PureContact LS is one of the best grand-touring all-season tires in the winter. Notably, it provides some of the shortest stopping distances in the category, and it is very easy to drive in the corners. It can even provide you with some ice traction, though for harsh conditions, I still recommend a set of proper winter tires.

As for comfort, the PureContact LS felt a bit firm when driving over broken roads, particularly when repetitive impacts were involved. Again, not a big issue since your car's suspension will be doing most of the work, but important to note. The PureContact LS is a very quiet tire, though, even when you drive at very high speeds.

Lastly, Continental offers a competitive 70,000-mile treadwear warranty on the PureContact LS.

Pros:

  • Best-in-class lateral grip and braking on wet tarmac
  • Easy to drive in wet conditions
  • Balanced handling and solid grip on dry roads
  • Predictable handling on light snow
  • Good snow traction for a grand-touring all-season tire
  • Quiet on the highway
  • Long treadwear warranty

Cons:

  • Firm ride over bad roads
  • The steering could be more linear

8. Pirelli P7 AS Plus 3

Pirelli-P7-AS-Plus-3

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The Pirelli P7 AS Plus 3 is one of the best tires for fuel economy in its category, thanks to the low rolling resistance compound with functionalized polymer. It is a tire that was specifically designed for the North American market and, as such, has qualities that appeal to buyers on the continent.

For starters, the P7 AS Plus 3 comes with a 70,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is good for a grand-touring all-season tire. The Italian tiremaker also promises excellent real-world treadlife, thanks to the durable rubber compound.

Like most Pirelli tires, the P7 AS Plus 3 is also a joy to drive on dry roads. The steering feels very lively and natural – it even put a smile on my face, which is not something I can say for most grand-touring tires. The P7 AS Plus 3 combines that with excellent overall grip. The stopping distances are among the shortest in the category, there is a ton of traction in the corners, and the handling is balanced.

Sadly, though, the P7 AS Plus 3 isn't as good in wet conditions. In isolation, it was hard for me to find faults, but if I put it next to the Bridgestone Turanza QuietTrack and Continental PureContact LS, the faults of the Pirelli tire became more apparent.

Put simply, the P7 AS Plus 3 lacks the wet grip of its rivals, which translates into lower speeds in the corners and longer stopping distances. The handling in the rain is balanced, and I could easily position the car where I wanted, but the traction simply wasn't there.

On the other hand, the P7 AS Plus 3 is an excellent light snow tire. It competes with the best in the category of traction (braking and acceleration), and it is very easy to drive in the corners. Of course, it can't tackle very challenging conditions, like ice or unpacked snow, but the same is true for most other grand-touring all-season tires.

Finally, the P7 AS Plus 3 is one of the most comfortable tires on the market. The ride is velvety-smooth, even on broken asphalt, and there is almost no tire noise on the highway.

Pros:

  • Strong grip and natural handling in dry conditions
  • Precise and quick steering
  • Good braking and drivability on light snow
  • Exceptionally comfortable over bumps
  • Very quiet at higher speeds
  • Long treadwear warranty

Cons:

  • Worse wet traction than its main rivals
  • It might be expensive for some

Best All-Season SUV Tires for Fuel Economy

9. Continental CrossContact LX25

Continental-CrossContact-LX25

Much like the TrueContact Tour and PureContact LS, Continental's touring all-season tire for SUVs also excels in every category when it comes to traction while also improving your vehicle's fuel economy. The German tiremaker is definitely designing some excellent tires lately and puts the competition on notice.

And like with most of its tires, the CrossContact LX25 excels in rainy conditions, giving its competitors a run for their money. Notably, it feels stable under braking and stops a few feet shorter than its rivals, and feels very balanced and stable in the corners. The lateral grip is also excellent, and I had no issues in hydroplaning, even in very heavy rain.

Furthermore, the CrossContact LX25 also performs excellently on dry roads, where it provides good lateral grip and solid longitudinal traction. It also feels surefooted in the corners and easy to modulate at the limit. I was also pleased with the steering, which felt responsive and linear while also providing good straight-line tracking.

The CrossContact LX25 also doesn't disappoint in wintry conditions. It provides very good longitudinal traction, i.e., braking and acceleration on light snow, and feels stable in the corners. The lateral grip is also very good for an all-season tire, and there is even some traction on ice.

Potential buyers will be happy to hear that the CrossContact LX25 is also a supremely quiet tire – I couldn't hear it at urban speeds, and at highway speeds, the wind noise was usually a bigger issue. Still, while the ride is good on smooth asphalt, it can feel a bit jittery on cracked roads.

The CrossContact LX25 comes with a 70,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is among the best in the category. Owners are also very satisfied with how long this tire lasts and report some excellent real-world treadlife.

Pros:

  • Excellent wet traction and good handling in the rain
  • High lateral grip and strong braking in dry conditions
  • Quick and linear steering
  • Surefooted handling and solid traction on light snow
  • An excellent 70,000-mile treadwear warranty
  • Exceptionally quiet at all speeds

Cons:

  • Harsh ride on bad roads
  • It is one of the most expensive touring tires for SUVs and crossovers

Best All-Season Truck Tires for Fuel Economy

10. Continental TerrainContact H/T

Continental-TerrainContact-HT

Another different category and another different Continental tire. You probably learned by now that the German tiremaker produces some great models and excels in every category where it competes. Yup, all of its tires that are currently on offer in North America are in the top 3 best in their respective categories.

But let's have a look at the TerrainContact H/T now, which is Continental's highway all-season tire offering. It's a heavy-duty tire designed for trucks and large SUVs, but one that will also give you enhanced fuel economy, long treadlife, and excellent comfort.

Apart from the somewhat vague steering that feels unresponsive at times (not a big issue if you are driving a truck), the TerrainContact H/T excels in every other area. I was particularly impressed with the wet traction offer (surprise, surprise), which easily beats any of its rivals.

Notably, the TerrainContact H/T provides the shortest stopping distances in the category in rainy conditions, feels surefooted in the corners, and has excellent hydroplaning resistance. And even when you break traction, it does that progressively and gives you more time to react.

The dry grip is also excellent for the category, accompanied by short stopping distances and balanced handling. The highway stability is also excellent, even if you have a trailer attached or haul heavy cargo in the bed.

Unlike some of its highway all-season rivals, the TerrainContact H/T is also very usable in wintry conditions. The light snow traction is excellent for an all-season tire, meaning less slipping during acceleration and better braking than its rivals. Moreover, the TerrainContact H/T feels stable in the corners, and it is easy to modulate.

And if that wasn't enough, the TerrainContact H/T is also very comfortable over bumps, surprisingly so, given the fact that it's such a tough tire. The noise is also well suppressed, even at highway speeds.

Finally, the TerrainContact H/T comes with a 70,000-mile treadwear warranty on Euro-metric sizes and a 60,000-mile warranty on LT-metric sizes, both excellent for the category. Owners also report excellent real-world treadlife.

Pros:

  • Shortest stopping distances in wet conditions in its category
  • High lateral grip on wet tarmac
  • Excellent lateral grip in dry conditions
  • Good braking on dry tarmac
  • Strongest braking on snow-covered roads of any highway all-season tire
  • High lateral grip and balanced handling on snow
  • Very quiet, even on rough roads
  • Buttery-smooth ride on any type of road
  • Long treadwear warranty and excellent real-world treadlife

Cons:

  • The steering feels unresponsive and vague
  • One of the most expensive highway all-season tires

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • What are the best tires for fuel economy?

Summer touring or grand-touring tires are the best for fuel economy, followed by all-season tires. Unfortunately, you can only buy performance summer tires in North America now, as the buyers aren't interested in touring tires that don't work through the year.

The reason why summer tires have less rolling resistance is the lower number of grooves and sipes. More tread blocks equate to higher rolling resistance, which is why all-season tires are worse for fuel economy, and winter/off-road tires are the worst.

Thus, for buyers in Europe, South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia, the best tire for fuel economy is a summer touring tire. Meanwhile, North American buyers will want to choose a touring all-season tire with a tread compound and pattern designed for low rolling resistance.

  • How do low-rolling resistance tires improve fuel economy?

Low-rolling resistance tires feature advanced rubber compounds and carefully designed tread patterns to minimize rolling friction, i.e., resistance to movement.

The lower the resistance of these tires, the less work the engine will have to do to propel you forward. As a result, the engine will spend less fuel for the same job but also produce fewer emissions, including CO2.

For that reason, most hybrids and EVs today are equipped with eco-friendly, low-rolling-resistance tires, but they slowly become the norm in other vehicles as well.

  • Can I use all-season tires for fuel economy?

If available, summer tires are the best for fuel economy. However, certain all-season touring and grand-touring tires can also provide high mpg numbers, particularly those that were rated as "eco" by the tire manufacturer or have some low-rolling-resistance technology built-in.

  • What is the difference between low-rolling resistance tires and regular tires?

There are two main differences between regular and low rolling resistance tires – the rubber compound and tread pattern. Low-rolling resistance tires have carefully-designed patterns that reduce friction, and a rubber compound rolls more smoothly down the road, further reducing friction.

The most common material that's widely used in tires today and resists friction is silica. However, certain tires are also made from a mixed natural/synthetic rubber compound to reduce rolling resistance, while others employ carbon black as a reinforcing filler.

Notably, premium manufacturers usually put the most exotic materials in their low-rolling-resistance tires, which leads to lower friction without compromising traction on dry, wet, and snowy roads. In other words, this is one of the reasons they cost more than other tires.

  • Do low-rolling resistance tires wear out faster than regular tires?

There is no correlation between tire durability and rolling resistance. And if there was any, the lower rolling resistance would've probably improved the tire's longevity due to the lower friction involved.

Besides, advances in tire technology have allowed manufacturers to create low-rolling resistance tires that provide a good balance between fuel efficiency and wear resistance.

Overall, all-season touring/grand-touring tires provide the best balance between fuel efficiency and longevity, as some of them come with over 80,000 miles of treadwear warranties.

  • Can low-rolling resistance tires provide good traction in wet conditions?

In the past, low-rolling resistance tires sacrificed wet traction to give you better fuel economy. However, that's not the case anymore, especially if you opt for tires from a reputable manufacturer.

Most of the premium tires that were built for fuel economy are also great in rainy conditions, providing a safe and stable ride. Still, some cheap tires built for fuel efficiency might be worse in the rain.

  • How much money can I save by using low-rolling resistance tires?

This depends on the type of tire, and especially the specific model. There are discrepancies in the rolling resistance between tire models; hence it's not easy to calculate how much you would save by opting for fuel-efficient tires.

Still, on average, low rolling resistance tires will save you between 2-3% of fuel compared to regular tires. Having that in mind, we can now calculate how much money you will save by opting for low-rolling resistance tires.

As an example, I'll take a mid-sized car that gets around 30 mpg and an average annual mileage of 13,500 miles in the USA (according to the FHWA).

In that case, a 2% improvement in fuel efficiency will result in annual savings of 27 gallons of fuel, which translates to savings of around $95 (according to the average fuel price in April 2023 in the USA).

Meanwhile, a tire that will give you a 3% improvement in fuel efficiency leads to annual savings of 40.5 gallons of fuel, leading to savings of around $142 annually (according to the average fuel price in April 2023 in the USA).

So, the savings aren't insignificant, though you probably won't notice them when refilling at the gas station. Still, low rolling resistance tires can lead to much lower emissions of CO2 if employed in most vehicles. Hence, tiremakers are incentivized to produce tires with low-rolling resistance.

  • Are high-performance tires bad for fuel economy?

High-performance tires have stickier tread compounds that usually lead to higher rolling resistance. However, in recent years, manufacturers started employing low-rolling resistance compounds to reduce energy loss and improve fuel efficiency. Additionally, some high-performance tires have a more aerodynamic shape, which can also help to reduce rolling resistance and improve fuel efficiency.

Still, it is safe to say that a touring tire will be more efficient than a high-performance tire. That is especially true for max-performance and extreme-performance tires, which sacrifice rolling resistance to give you the highest possible grip on the track. These tires are usually paired with very fast cars, which also aren't designed with fuel economy in the first place.

Narrower tires have less contact with the road, which leads to lower resistance to movement and higher fuel efficiency. Moreover, they are lighter and more aerodynamic, which further improves fuel economy.

However, going too narrow could seriously disrupt your vehicle's stability. Thus, I strongly recommend sticking with the OEM size, as car manufacturers test various tire sizes to find the right balance between performance and fuel economy.

  • Can I switch to low-rolling resistance tires just for the summer months?

Switching to summer tires during the summer months can significantly improve the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. On average, summer tires have 5-10% lower rolling resistance than winter tires, which can result in significant fuel savings. However, the savings will be smaller if you use all-season tires in the winter, ranging between 3-5%.

Still, the combination of summer and winter tires will always give you the best possible performance for the conditions you encounter. Summer tires perform much better in warmer conditions than all-season tires, regardless if it's dry or it's raining. Meanwhile, winter tires are much better on snow and ice than all-season tires.

  • Are all-terrain and off-road tires bad for fuel consumption?

Due to their more aggressive tread pattern with large blocks and high void area, all-terrain and off-road tires can negatively impact fuel efficiency. Moreover, they are heavier than regular tires, which can further increase your gas costs.

However, the impact of off-road tires on fuel consumption can be more pronounced in certain driving scenarios, such as highway driving at high speeds, where wind resistance and rolling resistance have a greater effect.

It's also worth noting that all-terrain tires are generally more fuel efficient than hardcore off-road tires, thanks to the less aggressive tread pattern and lower weight.

Conclusion

Choosing the best tires for fuel economy isn't as easy as looking for the "eco" tag on the product. Sure, having tires that will save you money on gas is great, but their primary function is to keep you safe.

Thus, I am always opposed to cheap tires with low rolling resistance that sacrifices other aspects to lower fuel consumption. It's a practice that is less common among reputable manufacturers today but still very popular among newly-launched tiremakers that sell very cheap tires.

I mean, what is the point of saving on fuel if the tires you bought lead to accidents that warrant higher repairs, not to mention possible injuries? Buying cheap almost always result in higher costs down the line, and that is especially true with tires.

With that said, buying low-rolling resistance tires from reputable manufacturers will lower your fuel expense while keeping you safe at the same time. You might pay more in the beginning, but these tires are usually more durable, meaning you'll be replacing them later, so they are not as expensive as they might seem at first.

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