The Japanese tire maker Yokohama has begun marketing its db Super E-spec orange oil infused tires. The tires are a secret blend of 80% orange oil extracted from orange rinds and 20% traditional petroleum based rubber. The tire drastically reduces the use of petroleum but according to the company "doesn't compromise performance".
But the question remains...do they work. Tests show that not only do they cut petroleum use but they also help consumers improve mileage. The new flexible rubber blend decrease rolling resistance by 20% thereby improving gas mileage by as much as 4%.
The tires will be available in four sizes initially... not surprisingly all sizes to fit the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid, Toyota Camry Hybrid and Honda Accord Hybrid.
The company has certainly made incredible gains in making the tire manufacturing process more sustainable- Id love to see the company's plans for the entire lifecycle of the tire. How will they be disposed? Can used tires be recycled into new tires? Are the materials toxic? How environmentally friendly is the manufacturing process?