Runs great, less fueling.
That's how Goodyear is describing its new lineup of three line-haul tires and retreads that it claims can deliver up to 4-percent better truck fuel economy than current Goodyear medium truck tires due to the company's new Fuel Max technology.
The Akron tire maker recently debuted the Fuel Max line of steer, drive and trailer tires and retreads to tire dealers, fleet operators and the tire and commercial truck trade press at its proving grounds in San Angelo. The new tires are the Unisteel G395 LHS steer tire, Unisteel G305 LHD drive tire and Unisteel G316 LHT trail tire in standard (11R22.5) and low-profile (295/75R22.5 and 285/75R24.5) sizes.
Goodyear also is offering UniCircle and precure retreading with Fuel Max technology, and officials said dealers could use the Fuel Max retread on a non-efficient casing.
Citing data from the American Trucking Associations, Donn Kramer, Goodyear's director of commercial tire marketing, said fuel makes up 25 percent of a fleet's total operating costs. Hence, for fleet operators, controlling fuel costs is key to maintaining profitability.
Goodyear said a combination of tread design, compounding, manufacturing process and casing construction is the reason for the tires' fuel efficiency. To prove the point, the tire maker ran a benchmark fuel test of semi-tractor trailer trucks, one shod with Unisteel G395 LHS, G305 LHD and G316 LHT tires and the other-the control truck-fitted with Unisteel G395 LHS, G372 LHD and G314 tires.
Following Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) test procedures, the trucks were driven at highway speeds around the San Angelo proving grounds for several hours. At the end of the test, Goodyear engineers calculated a 7.69-percent improvement in the truck fitted with Fuel Max tires vs. the control truck.
However, Jon Bellissimo, Goodyear's director of technology for commercial tires, told attendees in San Angelo that Goodyear is projecting the ``real world'' savings from Fuel Max likely is closer to 4 percent. Variables such as weather, load, temperature, axle alignment, speed, driving habits and terrain are all factors in determining fuel economy.
``There are tradeoffs in this business,'' Mr. Bellissimo said. ``The ideal is if you improve rolling resistance and improve everything. In the real world, you give up traction, wear, noise and retreadability when you improve rolling resistance.''
The fuel economy savings are seen in test comparisons between new, standard truck tires and Fuel Max and not between Fuel Max and truck tires that already have been worn, according to Tim Richards, project manager for commercial line-haul tires at Goodyear's Akron technical center.
Goodyear officials at the San Angelo launch were very candid about the tires and admitted that Fuel Max is comparable to fuel-saving tire products made by competitors Michelin North America Inc., Bridgestone/Firestone and Continental Tire North America Inc.
One fleet operator asked officials how Fuel Max tires compare in fuel economy with Michelin wide-base tires, known as super singles. Mr. Kramer bluntly said that Michelin super singles do perform ``a little better'' in fuel economy than Fuel Max tires, but Goodyear believes new materials and technology at its plants will help narrow the gap and eventually negate any fuel cost savings from super singles.
Mr. Kramer also urged operators and dealers to consider the durability and retreadability of tires, and questions remain about how well super singles stack up in these areas compared with dual truck tires. However, he added that Goodyear recognizes there is a market for wide-base tires, and the company intends to introduce super singles to that market in the near future.
Michael McGee, owner of Lakeland, Fla.-based McGee Tire Inc., told Tire Business he thought Goodyear's claims that its Fuel Max line would bring fuel savings were feasible. He said he especially thinks the G305 Unicircle will be a value to fleets and help him increase his retread sales.
The G305 LHD drive tire features a casing with an all-steel, four-belt package and optimized belt angles. A 26/32nd-inch deep tread of large blocks helps reduce ``tread squirm'' on the roadway, Goodyear said. Two circumferential and extended lateral grooves provide traction in all-weather conditions.
Available in two retreads, the premium G305 UniCircle-a splice-free retread-offers 24/32nd-inch tread depth, while G305 precure retreads offer a 22/32nd-inch tread depth.
The Unisteel G395 LHS steer tire comes in a five-rib design with high-tensile steel in its three inner belts. The top belt is made with polyamide, which protects the steel-belt package from moisture and reduces tread squirm in the tire footprint during cornering, Goodyear said.
The G316 LHT trail tire uses a triple-compound construction that reduces energy generated within the retread.
The three tires will be built at Goodyear's Topeka, Kan., and Danville, Va., plants.