Study shows low rolling resistance tires perform well in winter conditions

Transport Canada has released the results of a study on the safety and environmental performance of low rolling resistance tires.

Low rolling resistance tires are designed to improve vehicle fuel efficiency. They are made of advanced materials and have treads, dimensions and weights that help to minimize the energy lost as the tire rolls across the road surface.

The study, Packed Snow Performance of Low Rolling Resistance Class 8 Heavy Truck Tires, examined several brands of tires to assess their performance in packed snow winter conditions.

To comply with Canada’s proposed Heavy-duty Vehicle and Engine Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new on-road heavy-duty vehicles, it is expected that truck manufacturers and importers will increase their use of fuel savings technologies, including low rolling resistance tires, on vehicles available for sale in Canada.

During public consultations for the proposed Regulations, which are expected to come into force for 2014 model years and beyond, some industry stakeholders expressed concern that low rolling resistance tires may have reduced traction performance in Canadian winter conditions, particularly when equipped on class 8 long-haul heavy trucks.

The study, conducted by the National Research Council on behalf of Transport Canada’s ecoTECHNOLOGY for Vehicles Program, demonstrated that the current generation of low rolling resistance tires offers a similar level of snow traction performance as conventional tires, while reducing fuel consumption and emissions. Tires used in this study were chosen from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay Program’s approved list, a widely-accepted designation for low rolling resistance tires in North America.

The study’s results, as well as other test results from the ecoTECHNOLOGY for Vehicles program, will inform Canada’s proposed emission regulations for heavy-duty vehicles and Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. This study will help support the uptake of low rolling resistance tire technology by the Canadian trucking industry, maintaining road safety and benefitting the environment.

For more information about the ecoTECHNOLOGY for Vehicles Program and test results from this study, please visit Transport Canada’s website at