Try the tyre fuel efficiency calculator to see how much you could save by using tyres with a better rating.
Here are some calculations to compare a tyre rated C for fuel efficiency with an E rated one to see if it was worth the extra cost.
ATS Euromaster were selling the cheapest C rated tyre for my car for £83.99, the cheapest E rated one is £56.99, the difference is £27, neither are leading brands.
Travelling 10,000 miles per year
Price of Petrol is £1.30 per Litre
Car does 50 mpg
Annual petrol expenditure = £1158
There is a 7.5% difference in fuel consumption between an A rated tyre and a G rated one. Assuming an even scale there could be a difference of 2.5% between the C and E.
That works out as a £28.95 per annum saving, but only if all four tyres are on the same rating. Individually it is £7.23 per tyre.
A good tyre may last 40,000 miles – so I could get 4 years use and the savings would add up. It takes us back to £28.95 saving over the average lifetime of the car, and that is approximately the price difference between the two options.
So what can I conclude from these calculations?
If the price is equal go for the best fuel economy.
Otherwise go for the cheapest tyre as any tyre could be damaged by a puncture or could wear prematurely if your wheel alignment is affected by hitting a pothole – the less investment in any one tyre the better.
But wait – there is another rating: Wet Grip.
There is roughly 3 metres braking distance between each grade on the Wet Grip rating.
Think of the number of times you have had to brake hard recently.
In my case to get an A rated tyre over the cheapest option it’s an extra £42 per wheel for Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance tyres – but over 4 years of driving you only ever need that reduced braking distance once to save you a whole load of inconvenience, raised insurance premiums and possibly injury.
If you’ve ever looked at the Euro NCAP ratings and chosen a vehicle with a better crash safety rating – then tyres with the best Wet Grip rating possible should be also be a priority.
Get the best tyres you can afford, preferably going for grade A where available.
Looking at it another way – it’s only another £15 more than the C rated tyre (which breaks even on lifetime cost with the E rated one) and that extra is paid for by the better fuel economy rating B over the life of the tyre anyway.