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Of all the tips and tricks that are known to save fuel on modern-day cars and trucks, one that often gets overlooked is getting the right set of tires mounted up. Of course, nobody wants to use an inferior set of tires in the hopes of saving just a wee bit of gas, so Consumer Reports decided it was high time to line two of the biggest players in the rubber industry, Cooper and Michelin, against one another to see who came out on top in the low rolling resistance category.
According to the magazine, both the Michelin Energy Saver A/S and Cooper GFE served as good all-purpose tires, but the Michelin Man came out swinging with superior performance in rolling resistance along with wet and dry braking. In fact, so good was the performance of the Energy Savers that they would slot in at number two on CR's chart of all comparable tires, regardless of their rolling resistance rating.

In conclusion, CR reminds us to keep tabs on our tires. "No matter what tire your car is rolling on, it's critical to maintain proper inflation." Also, when purchasing tires, don't choose solely on fuel savings or any other single feature, but pick a set that performs well in all categories and suits your particular driving style. See the official press release after the break for more.

[Source: Consumer Reports]

PRESS RELEASE

CONSUMER REPORTS' TESTS FIND LOW-ROLLING-RESISTANCE TIRES CAN SAVE FUEL & PROVIDE GOOD ALL-AROUND PERFORMANCE


Michelin Energy Saver A/S outpoints the Cooper GFE; Fuel-saving tires can deliver up to $100 in fuel savings annually

YONKERS, NY - Consumer Reports' tests of two all-season, low-rolling resistance tires-the Michelin Energy Saver A/S and the Cooper GFE-revealed that they not only save gas, but also deliver good stopping and handling capabilities. In the past, consumers had to weigh a trade-off between a tire's fuel efficiency and its overall performance.

For years, automakers have specified fuel-saving tires as original equipment to help improve a vehicle's fuel economy numbers. Tires with lower "rolling resistance"-the amount of force that it takes to push a tire down a road-are more fuel efficient than others. But replacement tires aren't limited to an automaker's requirements, and attributes such as all-season grip and tread life are big selling points with consumers. In the past, consumers had to weigh a trade-off between low rolling resistance and other performance attributes-such as good dry- and wet-weather grip for stopping and cornering.
More recently, tire manufacturers have been achieving a better balance between rolling resistance and all-weather grip. To see how far the manufacturers had come, CR tested two all-season models that are being marketed for their claimed fuel efficiency.

Both the Michelin Energy Saver A/S and Cooper GFE fared well in Consumer Reports' tests but the Michelin was exceptional. It not only had the lowest rolling resistance of any all-season tire that CR has tested in recent years, it also scored "Very Good" in dry and wet braking.

The Cooper GFE's rolling resistance was not as low as the Michelin's, but it performed well in tests of hydroplaning resistance and emergency handling and was rated "Good" for both snow traction and ice braking.

Rolling resistance accounts for about 4 percent of a vehicle's fuel use in city driving and about 7 percent on the highway, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Replacing high-rolling resistance tires can result in as much as $100 in annual fuel savings-and potentially hundreds of dollars over the life of the tire.

CR's tire engineers cautioned consumers not to buy a tire based solely on its fuel-saving capabilities. "Short term savings are relatively small. But most consumers will likely see long-term fuel savings over the life of a tire,' said Gene Petersen, a senior engineer for Consumer Reports who oversees its tire test program. "No matter what tire your car is rolling on, it's critical to maintain proper inflation."

Consumer Reports advises buyers to choose a tire based on your personal driving style and the road conditions that you are likely to encounter-and use rolling resistance ratings as a tie-breaker. Buyers in northern climates may prefer a tire that delivers great traction on wet or snowy roads, for example, while those in warmer climates may put more emphasis on dry braking or ride comfort scores.

For comparison purposes, Consumer Reports examined how the two newly-tested tires stacked up against 23 other models T-rated tires previously rated by CR. In that ratings chart, the Michelin Energy Saver A/S ranked second overall behind the Michelin HydroEdge. The Cooper GFE ranked 11th overall.

Consumer Reports' overall score for tires emphasizes safety-related tests including braking, handling, and resistance to hydroplaning. CR also evaluates rolling resistance, ride comfort, noise, snow traction, ice braking and tread life.
Full tests and ratings for all-season tires appear in the July issue of Consumer Reports, which goes on sale June 1. The reports are also available to subscribers of www.ConsumerReports.org.Updated daily, ConsumerReports.org is the go-to site for the latest auto reviews, product news, blogs on breaking news and car buying information.

With more than 7 million print and online subscribers, Consumer Reports is one of the most trusted sources for information and advice on consumer products and services. It conducts the most comprehensive auto-test program of any U.S. publication or Web site and owns and operates a 327-acre Auto Test Center in Connecticut. The organization's auto experts have decades of experience in driving, testing, and reporting on cars. To subscribe, consumers can call 1-800-234-1645 or visit www.ConsumerReports.org
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  • 10 Comments
      • 5 Months Ago
      How did the Energy Saver A/S compare to prior tires tested by CR on comfort and noise level?
      • 5 Months Ago
      Hats off to Michelin, nice to hear the claims confirmed independently...
      Ivan Malagurski
      • 5 Months Ago
      Very impressive! I am stunned that you can have low rolling resistance and good grip at the same time..

      But i looked at the tread life, and it is rather low. Michelin rates it as a 6 out of 10.
      Also it is about twice the cost of a regular decent tire, $120 per tire for my car. Meanwhile some goodyears with similar tread life go for about $60 per.

      Saving $100 a year in fuel would not recoup the cost at all. Saving $200 a year wouldn't recoup it either.

      Saving the environment's gonna cost extra -__-
        • 5 Months Ago
        I was actually surprised myself. I was shopping around for tires for my Celica and almost ended up with Goodyear Fuel Max's b/c they were said to have very good grip in both the wet and dry.

        Decided to go with some sportier kicks for increased lateral G action instead ;-)
        • 5 Months Ago
        The michelin hydro edge tires i can recommend whole heartedly, I got a set, and I believe they reduce my fuel consumption. Not to mention they lasted 200,000km on my car. They're fantastic!
      • 5 Months Ago
      So they only tested the Michelin vs. the Cooper tires? There are a lot more good LRR tires out there...

      Chevy said that the Goodyear Fuel Max tires that are going on the Volt give it 1 extra mile of AER...

      Anyone have a current list of RR numbers for the top dogs? Wikipedia source is from '03, lol...
      • 5 Months Ago
      These Michelin's came stock on my new Fusion. Just had to order one on tire rack because I hit something and damaged one. It went for $115. I guess I didn't think that was too bad since I've been putting tires on an Explorer for the past 10 years at 185/each. They brake great wet or dry but don't know if' that's the tire or it just being a new car lol.
      • 5 Months Ago
      I'm so glad you did this article.

      I was getting so TIRED of reading about the oil spill.

      [can I get a rim shot, Smitty!]
      - - - - - - - - - - -
      No, seriously, I'm glad you posted this. I had the question in the back of my mind for quite a while now about the safety of low rolling resistance tires. But since the Michellins proved to be so good both on dry pavement as well as wet that answers that.

      Way to go Michelin!
      • 5 Months Ago
      What were the other tires tested? I'll bet they did not include the new Nokian eNTYRE.

      Sincerely, Neil
        • 5 Months Ago
        For some reason it was just the Michelin tire vs. Cooper's best tire. Lame.