Traditional dual tyres can be replaced with one single-wide (or single wide-base) tyre. This technology can be applied to all tractor and trailer tyre positions excepting the steer tyres. Fuel savings are achieved by reducing the weight and rolling resistance of the tyres and wheels, thereby reducing load on the engine.
This opportunity is highly applicable to Australian road freight and available for immediate implementation. There was a period when these tyres were very popular—however, it appears operators are moving away from the option due to serviceability and repair considerations.
SAE International (2005) tests indicated a potential saving in fuel of 6–12% for highway applications and 10% for suburban. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) SmartWay program suggests a fuel saving of 4% with the implementation of single-wide tyres.
Key implementation considerations
Savings can potentially be achieved wherever a dual tyre is fitted. However, since tyres are not paired, there is an issue of immobilisation with the failure of one tyre. Additionally, although fuel savings are immediately apparent, payback is dependent on initial fuel expenditure and the cost of tyres.
Examples of implementation
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
This website discusses the trial of single-wide tyres and the fuel efficiency benefits from fuel economy tests conducted by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory along a route from western Michigan to Portland, Oregon, traversing variable terrain, weather and levels of congestion (Green Car Congress 2006b). Results show that there was about a 2.9% fuel saving in using the new generation single-wide tires over the standard dual tires. For more information, see Green Car Congress (2006) ORNL: Single Wide-Base Truck Tires Improve Fuel Economy.
This case study details the fuel savings achieved by a freight company installing super single tyres on its truck fleet.
Roadmaster first trialled the replacement of dual tyres with super singles over 20 years ago. The haulier has found that the use of super single tyres reduces rolling resistance and provides a tare weight benefit, which gives Roadmaster a fuel saving of approximately 8%. For more information, see Environmental Best Practice Centre Case Studies: Roadmaster and Simon.
This case study details the payload benefit and fuel savings achieved by a freight company installing aluminium super single tyres on its truck fleet. The Noske Group logistics company trialled the use of aluminium wheels with super single tyres in its B-Double vehicles. The combination provides a lower tare weight and allows for significant fuel reductions, or the option of increasing payload. The initial capital cost of super single tyres was 17% higher than conventional tyres, but delivered reductions of 7.5% in fuel consumption and offered improvements to vehicle stability and resultant driver confidence. For more information, see Environmental Best Practice Centre Case Studies: Noske and Patrick.
For the full report, see Fuel for Thought – Identifying potential energy efficiency opportunities in the Australian road and rail sectors (opens in a new window) PDF 1.5 MB.