How Much Does Tyre Pressure Impact Fuel Economy


Even a modest difference in tyre pressure can reduce the fuel economy of your car or van. Running on soft tyres also contributes to the damage done to the environment in our everyday driving.

Estimates vary and other factors affect your miles per gallon but underinflated tyres could be increasing your fuel consumption from anywhere between 3% and 10%.

Whatever the true figure, that will be having a direct impact on your wallet every time you fill up.

Why Do Under-Inflated Tyres Increase Fuel Use?

The lower the air pressure inside each tyre, the greater its ‘footprint’.

That means that the area of the tyre in contact with the road increases. With that, the friction between the rubber and the asphalt – known as the rolling resistance – rises.

As rolling resistance increases, more power is needed to keep the vehicle moving. More force is needed to overcome this friction at slower speeds or if you are driving in conditions that mean you stop and start at regular frequencies.

Low tyre pressures can also be dangerous as they impact upon your car’s performance, such as its handling, and increase the risk of blowouts and premature wear.

The Impact Of Underinflated Tyres On The Environment

More fuel being burned to keep your car or van moving means more CO2 and other pollutants being released into the environment.

Again, estimates vary but studies of cars on the road in the UK, EU and the US suggest between 60% and 80% of vehicles are being driven with underinflated tyres.

Each time a gallon of fuel is burned, 20 pounds of carbon dioxide is added to the air around us. The US Environmental Protection Agency suggest that an extra 1.5 tonnes of greenhouse gases are generated by running a vehicle on soft tyres.

And everything needlessly being burned by your car comes with a financial cost.

You should also note that comparative studies have found no link between tyres inflated above the manufacturer’s recommendation and increased miles per gallon.

The Green Garage Network is a membership of car repair, servicing and maintenance providers committed to reducing the impact that vehicles have on the environment.

A Green Garage Network member will always check your tyre pressures are correct every time you visit, as one of their commitments to benefiting the environment. It may seem small, but that alone can have a big impact on the emissions your car releases. We all need to do our bit after all.

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