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Old 08-25-2012, 12:07 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Taller Tire Test (5.7% MPG increase observed on Honda CR-Z @ 55-65 MPH)

Some work I just completed...

Edit by admin: see attached spreadsheet for raw data and full text; some of the spreadsheet text is quoted below...

Effect of Tire Size on Honda CR-Z Mileage

Dunlop 195/55R16 SP Sport A/S vs Michelin 205/65R16 Energy Saver A/S

The purpose of the test is to determine whether larger diameter tires, which result in lower engine RPM and higher load for a given speed, can improve gas mileage. The test car has a 6-speed manual transmission. The car is also available with a CVT transmission. The CVT equipped car has a higher EPA mileage rating, and is known to run at lower RPMs at highway speed. All tests were run using Honda OEM 16 wheels.

Comparing the tires:

Weight1 Rev/Mile1 Diameter1 Circumference2
Dunlop 19# 856 24.4 77 1/4 (used: 12,000 mi.)
Michelin 22# 786 26.5 83 5/8 (new: 500 mi.)

Conclusions: At highway speeds (55-65 MPH), the larger tires gave a 5.7% average increase in MPG. The engine ran about 200 RPM lower, giving a quieter ride, and theoretically, less engine wear. This is balanced by requiring a little more clutch slip on starting, resulting in more clutch wear.

On a slightly different note: 10 more MPH costs 10 MPG!

The test course consists of northbound and southbound runs of 12 miles each on US Route 23, in Marion County, Ohio. The start is at mile marker 3, and the end is mile marker 15. Each data set consists of one north+south run at 55 mph, one at 60, and one at 65 mph. The distance is assumed to be correct, as I'm using state highway markers. Each run was timed with a stopwatch, and the MPG was read from a ScanGuage II. The ignition was left on between north and south runs, so that the cruise control should be exactly the same setting each way. All tests were run with the tires at 40 PSI cold. Warm up consists of 7 city blocks at 25 MPH (4 stop signs), 1.5 mi. at 45 MPH (3 stop lights), and 7.1 mi. at 55 MPH (4 stop lights)

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File Type: xls TireTest_2.xls (27.5 KB, 191 views)
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Old 08-25-2012, 12:15 AM   #2 (permalink)
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second wind,
Nice job!!!!

I have a thread with the exact same results.
stock 245/45/18 26"
now 245/50/18 27.7"
I run 45psi.
Always thought the stiffer tire would bother me. Not one bit, but I also have electronic suspension.

As a note: truck do not tend to have the same results.
Also: IMHO you need to have 50% of your driving at 'cruise speed' to achieve a payoff. Since a larger tire is slower to turn on start off.

EDIT: on the comparision that I did it was Kuhmo escta on both sizes.
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Last edited by mcrews; 08-25-2012 at 01:19 PM..
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Old 08-25-2012, 07:10 AM   #3 (permalink)
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First: Good work!

But there are a couple of extra variables that are clouding the picture. Besides the tire size difference, there is also the difference in brand and tire type.

Were the Dunlop's the OE tire? That's another issue as OE tires are typically better for RR.

Bottomline: Be careful about characterizing this test as about larger diameter tires. There are other things that might be affecting the results.

Nevertheless, thanks for doing the work and sharing.


Since I had done some work on tire size vs RR, I was wondering if I could quantify what affect the tire size alone had on RR.

Here's where I got the formula:


Doing the math, the change in RR due to tire size is 5.4%. So maybe the affect the difference in diameter is much smaller than you think.

Visit my website: www.BarrysTireTech.com

Last edited by CapriRacer; 08-25-2012 at 07:29 AM..
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Old 08-25-2012, 09:48 AM   #4 (permalink)
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CapriRacer: Yes, the Dunlops are OE. I realise that there is a certain "apples and oranges" quality to my study. However, I was very limited in the selection of tires. In certain lines, there are very few sizes made. The current fad is very low profile, and this is what the majority of tire buyers are looking for. I chose the Michelin tire based on the fact that it was 1 of only three made that would give me the revs per mile I needed.
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Old 08-25-2012, 11:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
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All the confounds CapriRacer mentions being good to notice, I agree with him that this is great nonetheless. Others have found it really hard to get ideal conditions for testing too. Lots of work in this. Your conclusions suggest confirmation of other tests. Useful. Many thanks.
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Old 08-25-2012, 05:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Good work. I took the liberty of making a plot with error bars:

Weight Rev/Mile Diameter Circumference
Dunlop 19# 856 24.4” 77 1/4”
Michelin 22# 786 26.5” 83 5/8”

Statistically speaking, if you were to repeat the tests over and over 67% of the results would fall in the span of the error bars and 95% would fall into 2x the span of the error bars.

Sure there's more than just tire size involved, but it's clear that the one tire is better. One other factor to keep in mind is that tread depth also plays a roll--meaning that worn tires typically have lower RR.

Another key takeaway is that 10 mph increase costs 10+ mpg.
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Old 08-27-2012, 05:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks a lot for posting this, SecondWind.

I hope you don't mind I quoted some of the text of the spreadsheet in your first post of the thread.
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Old 09-01-2012, 12:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Taller Tire Test: City Driving

This is an addition to my earlier post showing the effect of taller tires on highway mileage. The car is a 2011 Honda CR-Z 6MT. The tires tested are the OE Dunlop 195/55R16 vs Michelin 205/65R16.

To determine the effect of the larger tires on city driving, a loop was laid out in and around Delaware, Ohio. The loop consists of 25, 35, 45 and 50 mph zones, and both stop signs and traffic lights. The loop also includes pulling into and out of some businesses. The idea is to duplicate running a series of errands.

The conclusions are that the larger tires do not affect city driving mileage. I expected, based on the opinion of others, that the larger, heavier tires would result in lower city driving mileage. I found that if I drove slower (due to traffic, etc.), that my mileage went down. I think that must be the result of more time spent in lower gears. I also found it difficult to drive consistantly. My data is not grouped together nearly as tightly as I would have liked. I think the point here is that in-town driving is strongly influenced by driving style. Highway driving is influenced much less by driving style; just a matter of setting the cruise...

The loop was run 5 times with the OEM Dunlop tires, 5 times with the Michelins, and 5 times again with Dunlops. As measured by ScanGuage II, the loop is 13.0 miles. By Google Maps, it's 12.9 miles, but Google doesn't recognize driving into a shopping center.

I drove in “normal” mode, and also as normally as possible. I do not use P&G, EOC, or any other hypermiling techniques. I shift at about 2,500 1st to 2nd; and at 2,000 or less up through 3, 4, 5, and 6. I use the brakes lightly, since it re-charges the battery, and
try to anticipte the traffic lights when possible. I decelerate in gear, again to re-charge the battery.

Run Time MPG Gallons Max RPM Max MPH
1 36.23 42.0 0.31 2,830 51
2 35.93 45.3 0.28 2,702 50
3 38.84 43.5 0.30 2,794 51
4 34.48 44.0 0.34 2,853 50
5 35.55 44.3 0.31 2,785 50
6 37.93 46.3 0.29 2,537 52
7 35.38 48.6 0.27 2,395 50
8 41.07 45.2 0.30 2,405 53
9 36.54 45.6 0.29 2,608 54
10 36.57 49.3 0.27 2,187 51
11 36.84 45.6 0.29 2,658 50
12 39.52 45.5 0.29 2,253 50
13 37.85 46.4 0.28 2,519 50
14 38.72 44.1 0.29 2,233 50
15 37.42 44.9 0.29 2,576 57

Last edited by SecondWind; 09-01-2012 at 03:22 PM.. Reason: data columns: tried to clean up columns, but posting seems to delete all extra spacing!
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Old 09-01-2012, 06:12 PM   #9 (permalink)
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This is interesting--the taller profile of the vehicle should make aero drag worse, but apparently that's minor compared to the gearing effect. Too bad it's not as easy to swap gears as it is on a bicycle.
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Old 09-01-2012, 09:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I went to 5% higher od tires and I am feeling it may be high enough gearing. I'm sure when they design a car they gear a car to suit the majority of people.Still think there should be some options in the gearing when you buy a new car.

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