Current Issue
Published on June 19, 2006

Mail Call, June 19



Fuel-efficient tires save gas

Your editorial, “Careful with fuel-efficiency ratings” in the May 8 issue, underestimates the benefit of low-rolling-resistance tires. Replacement tires can be optimized for fuel-efficiency without sacrificing other important attributes such as safety, handling and resistance to wear.

As you have reported, the National Academies of Science (NAS) found that replacement tire rolling resistance could be reduced by 10 percent at a cost to consumers of only $1 to $2 per year—a good deal when you consider the tires would save about a tank of gas annually.

When analyzing data on about 200 tires, the NAS also found that many tires with the same size, traction and speed ratings already differ in rolling resistance by 20 percent or more, offering potentially even greater fuel savings. The panel uncovered no relationship between rolling resistance and tire wear ratings.

The efforts of states like California to establish fuel-efficiency ratings and standards are important for resolving any remaining questions about low-rolling-resistance tires.

With gasoline prices over $3 per gallon and oil dependence threatening our national security, we should aggressively pursue all cost-effective means to reduce fuel consumption. Fuel-efficient replacement tires are a painless way for drivers to save gas and money.

Luke Tonachel

Vehicles analyst

Natural Resources Defense Council

San Francisco

Facing realities of tire biz

I'm compelled to respond to Barry Steinberg's letter to Mail Call in the May 8 issue. Barry, owner of Direct Tire Sales in Watertown, Mass., has been the golden boy of tire retailers these past few years. Now it seems that even he has been forced to face the realities of this monster we call the tire business.

As is true with many businesses that enjoy a meteoric rise to success, downturns are extremely difficult to accept. Welcome to reality, Barry.

The siren's song of the tire manufacturers has lured many good dealers to the shoals of disaster. The additional business the auto dealers provided seemed like a great avenue for plus business a few years ago. I really don't remember being forced into selling tires to auto dealers, though. However, the rationale for this has always been: Well if I don't sell them my competitors will.

As for fuel prices, don't look for any relief in the near future. Remember we have a president with strong ties to the oil industry. Tire dealers have to make adjustments the same as any other business.

The good old days of high profits are gone, but that doesn't mean we have to throw in the towel. We just have to learn that we alone determine how to run our businesses—not our suppliers.

Larry Hauck


Wells-Hauck Tire Co.

Alton, Ill.

Maintenance list needed

We at Whitehall Tires for Less want to do more preventive maintenance services, but we need a better source of scheduled maintenance lists for all cars.

Looking at the customers' vehicle manuals seems less than professional.

John Stickley

Service consultant

Whitehall Tires for Less



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