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Automakers outsource a variety of components to OEM suppliers. The parts could be as small as a screw or as large as the entire car itself, contracting the entire assembly process to outside bidders. But while some automakers make more or less of the parts in-house, one component is always outsourced: the tires.

With Bridgestone's hegemony on supplying tires to Formula One set to end this year, rubber companies are lining up en masse to grasp at the opportunity to take its place. We recently reported on Michelin's ambitions, but the French tire company isn't the only option being considered. According to Sam Michael, technical director for the Williams team, the options have been narrowed down to Michelin or Cooper Avon. Pirelli, however, has also announced its interest in returning to the championship.

A tire war could be sparked in Formula One within a couple of seasons if Michelin gets what it wants. The French tire manufacturer ceased its participation in the sport after F1 moved to a single-supplier formula, selecting Bridgestone as its partner. But with Bridgestone set to leave at the end of next season, team bosses reportedly met with Bernie Ecclestone in Malaysia on Friday to discuss potential replacements.

Click above to enlarge, though they don't get much bigger than that

Every time an automaker announces a green signature label, one of the factory-installed features to reduce fuel consumption is probably low-rolling resistance tires. French magazine Autoplus did a test drive on a regular car, to see how much fuel these tires save. The magazine wanted to run the test because France is considering adopting a bonus/malus system on these tires for 2010, whereby tires that save fuel would get a tax exemption.

Finding some use for old tires is quite a problem. While some have found quite interesting DIY solutions, not all of us are that gifted. So it's a good thing that, besides using them for things such as sidewalks, pavements, basketball courts or even asphalt, they can be used as fuel. Currently, the U.S. burns 52 percent of its old tires, while the EU is burning about 31 percent. But how clean is that? The EPA states that although burning them as fuel is not the cleanest thing on the world, it's

As the number of cars being equipped with run-flat tires increases car buyers are quickly learning that the new design is not all that it's cracked up to be. One automaker adamant in its decision to equip its cars with run-flats instead of installing a proper spare in the trunk is BMW, and it's now starting to experience a consumer backlash from that decision. Many of its customers are frustrated, not only at the shortcomings of the tire itself but also because of the exorbitant bill they face o

It's been well over a year since Michelin unveiled its take on the future of the tire, the airless Tweel. The odd-looking invention pairs a replaceable outer rubber layer with a central alloy hub joined by polyurethane ribs. Judging by this video, it would appear that the tire manufacturer is continuing to develop its concept, testing it on a variety of vehicles in a number of different environments. Click on the link to get a glimpse of what might just be in your automotive future.