Improving Fuel Efficiency Where the Rubber Meets the Road
In the next decades, the pressure for carbon dioxide (CO2) reductions will keep growing, especially as the world populations grow rapidly. It is estimated that the annual world CO2 emissions level should be at approximately 20 gigatons to help support long term sustainable growth. In 2009, that number stood at 28 gigatons, meaning that world carbon productivity needs to improve by about 10 times in the coming decades.(10) With as much as 23 percent of total CO2 emissions coming from road transportation,(11) the fuel efficiency of cars and trucks will be critical to reaching this goal.
In addition to drivetrain improvements, advancements in low rolling resistance tires (LRRTs) will significantly contribute to improving fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions. Tires can account for 20 to 30 percent of total fuel consumption.(12) And, there is an estimated 10 percent difference in fuel consumption between the worst-performing tires and tires with the latest in material and manufacturing technologies. For each automobile equipped with LRRTs, that can translate to a reduction in CO2 emissions of 4 g/km, improved fuel efficiency of 0.2 l/100km, and reduction of fuel consumption up to 3 percent or 23 to 46 l/yr.(13) In the United States alone, LRRTs help reduce CO2 emissions by 12-24 million metric tons/year.(14)
Styron has leveraged its strong understanding of Solution Styrene Butadiene Rubber (S-SBR) to develop the latest generation functionalized S-SBR, Sprintan® SLR-4602. This functionalized SSBR, along with other tire construction improvements, helps achieve an optimum performance balance of improved wet grip, high abrasion resistance, low road noise, light weight and low rolling resistance.
A leading tire manufacturer is currently using Sprintan™ S-SBR 4602 to achieve higher tread wear mileage, lower rolling resistance and improved fuel economy. In essence, this greater fuel efficiency means drivers use less energy to travel the same distance; this performance feature alone can save approximately 2,600 miles (4,184 km) worth of gas over the life of a set of four tires.(15)
Regulation of CO2 emissions reduction in the transportation industry (including the tire industry) will not only become more widespread globally, but also more stringent. Styron, through its Synthetic Rubber products, will continue to provide innovative solutions that seriously address this very important and far-reaching trend in the transportation industry – all to support global sustainable growth and help reduce our transportation footprint.
Section Quick Links
- Sustainability in Action
- Changing the Game for Packaging
- The Continuing Evolution of Polystyrene
- Styron Responds to Marketplace by Replacing Flame Retardant
- Driving Sustainability Forward with Plastics for Automotive
- Improving Fuel Efficiency Where the Rubber Meets the Road
- Lighting the Way to Improved Energy Efficiency
- Smarter Way to Reduce Energy Consumption
- The Power of Garbage-Alternative Energy and Reduced Emissions Through LOMAX Technology
- Styron Reduces Energy Use at Indonesia Polystyrene Plant by 41 percent
- Styron Reduces Water Effluent by 90 percent at Allyn's Point Latex Plant
- Materials to Make Homes More Energy Efficient
- Styron Germany Sites Adopt Energy Management, Achieve ISO-50001