Institute of Transportation Studies
Assessment of Tire Technologies and Practices for Potential Waste and Energy Use Reductions
- Author(s): Lutsey, Nicholas P.
- Regnier, Justin
- Burke, Andy
- Melaina, Marc W
- Bremson, Joel
- Keteltas, Michael
- et al.
Tire purchasing and disposal impose considerable cost and waste burdens on private vehicle owners and fleet managers. This research investigates tire maintenance management practices and tire-related vehicle technologies that have the potential to relieve some of these burdens. We investigate behavior, attitudes, and practices of fleet personnel and individual drivers as they relate to tire attributes and technologies. Based on this research, we analyze and recommend critical practices that could improve tire purchasing, tire management, average tire life within existing vehicles in vehicle fleets. We evaluate the tire wear and energy use of various tire technologies and improved fleet tire management and find several fleet practices that offer substantial potential improvements in tire-related energy and waste consequences. Advancements in three particular areas – tire pressure monitoring, nitrogen as a tire inflation medium, and the selection of tires with lower rolling resistance – are commercially available and promising in terms of their potential benefits. Additionally, to demonstrate and empirically test the potential impact of nitrogen as an inflation medium for tires, we deploy several technologies on fleet vehicles, including data acquisition systems for retrieval of information from fleet vehicles and nitrogen inflation equipment at the California Department of General Services vehicle fleet facility. We develop the accompanying experimental design for testing the impact of nitrogen inflation on these fleet vehicles. This experiment is created in such a way that the fleet personnel can undertake the experimental testing and statistically evaluate the impact of nitrogen inflation on their vehicle fleet. From our findings, we develop best practices recommendations, which are meant to serve as a guide for improving tire practices in vehicle fleets.