Fuel-Save Tires

FRESNO, Calif.

"There once was a peaceful town held captive by an evil gas pump."

Michelin's ad for its Energy Saver A/S low-rolling-resistance tire is a cartoon fairy tale.

"Along came the Michelin Man, who reminded them the right tire changes everything."

But in real life, can a tire really change everything?

"Rolling resistance is the force that a tire needs to keep it moving down the road. Low-rolling-resistance tires can, in theory, save you gas, but there are other factors to consider when purchasing a tire," Jon Linkov said.

Consumer reports tested two all-season tires with low-rolling resistance, the Michelin Energy Saver a/s and the Cooper GFE.

"Both of these tires are more fuel efficient. But the Michelin was the best. It could potentially save you up to three miles per gallon on the highway. And that can save you about 100 dollars per year," Linkov said.

But in the past, tires with low-rolling resistance haven't performed well in some of consumer reports' routine tests. This one measures how long it takes a car to stop on dry pavement.

And this test measures stopping distance on wet pavement.

"The Michelin did exceptionally well, rating very good in both dry braking as well as wet. So you no longer have to compromise braking performance to get good fuel economy," Linkov said.

But be aware, the Michelin Energy Saver A/S Tires, as with any tire, have to be properly inflated in order to get maximum fuel efficiency.

Consumer reports says if you're considering getting a low-rolling-resistance tire, first find a top-performing tire that's good for your personal driving style and road conditions. Then use the tire's rolling resistance as a tiebreaker.

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