Do All-Season Tires Use More Fuel?

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All-season tires can potentially use more fuel compared to other types of tires, but the difference is usually minor.

Fuel economy of all-season tires

Overall, while all-season tires might use slightly more fuel than summer tires, but less compared to winter tires, though the difference is not typically substantial. I mean, the convenience of not having to change tires for different seasons often outweighs the minor increase in fuel consumption for many drivers. However, for maximum fuel efficiency, especially in warm, dry conditions, summer tires might be the better choice.

Though keep in mind, fuel efficiency vary in terms of a few factors:

Seasonal Changes

All-season tires are the middle ground, crafted to handle both warm and chilly weather reasonably well. But here’s the twist: in colder temperatures, winter tires outperform all-season ones in efficiency.

Yet, rolling with winter tires during warmer months can crank up your fuel consumption more than sticking with all-season tires.

The compromise with all-season tires is this: they aren’t as fine-tuned for minimal rolling resistance like summer tires, which are tailor-made for warmer conditions.

So, depending on where you live, your tire choice can really sway your car’s fuel efficiency.

But wait, temperature changes play a big role too

For every 10°F change in air temperature, your tire pressure can shift by about 1-2 psi, and for every 1 psi drop in the pressure of all your tires, you can expect a 0.2% decrease in miles per gallon (MPG).

So, keeping an eye on those seasonal shifts and adjusting your tire pressure accordingly can help you maintain optimal fuel efficiency.

Type of All-Season Tire Used

So there are 5 main types here.

  • Standard Touring All-Season.
  • Grand Touring All-Season.
  • Ultra-High Performance All-Season
  • SUV Touring All-Season.
  • Highway All-Season.

And out of all of them, the standard touring tires are the most fuel efficient. They usually have a symmetrical tread pattern, and they weigh a lot less compared to others.

Tread Structure

The thing with all-season tires is, they’re made to handle a mix of conditions—think wet roads and a bit of snow. Because they’ve got to cling onto different surfaces like wet, dry, and snowy, their tread is packed with plenty of sipes and grooves.

Here’s the deal: Grooves help to channel out water and slush/snow, stopping the tires from skidding or hydroplaning, or in the case of snow, from getting bogged down. Meanwhile, sipes are the heroes that absorb any leftover water, giving you better grip on wet roads. They flex and bite into the surface, you see.

This is why their composition is kinda sticky, but the downside? It can bump up your fuel use.

Tread Composition

Compared to summer tires, the tread on all-season ones is a tad softer. This means the lugs (those bits of tread) bend and flex more when the tire rolls or takes corners, especially if you’re driving like you mean it.

More bending lugs means more energy going into the tread flexing and heating up. Both these things not only waste energy (hello, lower fuel efficiency) but also speed up tire wear.

So, while tougher summer tires are a better pick in these scenarios, super soft winter tires wear out faster. All-season tires? They strike a balance, sitting right in the middle.

Most tires, especially those with “ECO” in their name, are often sold as the best choice for fuel efficiency. But let’s be real, that’s not always the case.

So, how do you choose a more fuel-efficient tire for your car? First things first, make sure you know how to read tire sizes and pick the right one for your ride. It’s a good idea to stick with the tire size your car manufacturer recommends.

Now, here’s what you need to look out for:

Get Tires With Less-Aggressive Tread Pattern

Tires with a less complicated tread pattern usually have lower rolling resistance than those with a hardcore tread design.

What does “less aggressive” mean?

Basically, if it doesn’t rain much where you live, go for tires with fewer sipes and grooves. Such all-season tires provide a great option if you’re mostly driving in dry conditions.

Though, of course, that would compromise a little on wet grip and handling.

Go For Lesser Tread Depth

Here’s the deal: the more tread depth, the more fuel your car guzzles. That’s because bigger tread gaps let the lugs move and flex more, which eats up energy. Instead of rolling smoothly, each lug kind of does its own thing, burning extra fuel. So, tires with less tread depth are usually more efficient.

Interestingly, as tires wear down, they become slightly more fuel-efficient, but only up to a point. After a certain level of wear, not only does fuel efficiency drop, but so does the traction.

That’s why tires with a worn tread depth of 2/32″ take almost double the time to stop on wet roads compared to new tires with full tread depth.

Find A Lighter Tire

This one’s pretty straightforward. Lighter tires mean less pressure on the road and less effort to roll, which can boost your fuel economy. If you’re not sure about the weight of a tire, don’t sweat it – that’s where I can help. Feel free to ask me anything about tire weight, fuel efficiency, or anything tire-related.

Go For Lower Speed Ratings

So, higher speed ratings let you zoom around faster on tires without stressing over them getting wrecked. But, there’s a catch. Higher speed ratings also mean more grip and tougher sidewalls. And guess what? This combo leads to lug bending.

Remember how I mentioned that lug bending (which cranks up the heat) can eat into your fuel economy? Yep, that’s the downside.

Narrower Tires Can Be a Good Bet

Sticking to what the car maker suggests, it’s cool to opt for a bit narrower tires. You’re usually safe going about 10 mm less in width.

Why go narrower?

They tend to have less rolling resistance because they touch the road less, cutting down on friction.

But hey, make sure the new width fits your wheels right and doesn’t jam up in the wheel well.

Changing the tire width can mess with how your car handles, carries weight, and even how your speedometer and odometer read.

While skinny tires might save you some fuel, they still need to meet your ride’s performance and safety needs.

For Your Info: Skinnier tires also make traction better on snow, I discussed it more here:

The answer to this varies, in terms of the category, all-season tires belong to.

As I already mentioned, there are 5 different types of all-season tires:

And out of all of them, the standard touring tires are the most fuel-efficient. Though let tell you which tire is best here, for each category.

So based on my testing and reviews, on all these categories and tires in them, here’s my take on it:

All-Season CategoryMost Fuel-Efficient Tires
Standard TouringContinental ProContact (EcoPlus)
Grand TouringDunlop Sport All Season
Ultra-High PerformancePirelli P Zero AS Plus
SUV TouringGoodyear Assurance CS Fuel Max
Highway ASFirestone Destination LE3
List of most fuel-efficient tire, all-season category-wise.

To Sum Up

In conclusion, while all-season tires offer a balanced performance in various weather conditions, they are not as specialized as winter or summer tires in their respective climates.

Winter tires excel in cold temperatures but can reduce fuel efficiency in warmer weather, unlike all-season tires.

Additionally, external factors like temperature changes significantly impact tire pressure and, consequently, fuel efficiency.

Therefore, it’s crucial to consider your local climate and regularly adjust tire pressure according to seasonal variations to ensure optimal fuel efficiency for your vehicle.

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