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Eco Tires

Tires Go Green with Citrus Rubber and Earth-Friendly Chrome

by Jessica Howell

And you thought that driving a hybrid was being green enough. Now the ante is upped with Yokohama's new "citrus-based" rubber tires, a high tech alternative for petroleum-based traditional tires that's better for both consumer and environment.

Having developed a tire-making process that combines citrus oil with natural rubber, the use of petroleum is cut by 80 percent. The first tire released in the line of "Super Nanopower Rubber (SNR)" tires will be Yokohama's Decibel Super E-Spec, a consumer passenger vehicle tire.

Says Executive Vice President of Yokohama Jim MacMaster, "[The] new polymer inner lining is designed to reduce air from seeping out from the tire, which help maintain appropriate inflation levels."

As we know, underinflated tires are huge gas guzzlers, making Yokohama's newest tire better for mileage in the long run. The E-Spec is also much lighter than a traditional pertroleum tire, conserving gas by reducing rolling resistance by 18 percent.

"Low rolling resistance tires improve fuel efficiency by minimizing wasted energy [heat] as tires roll down the road," adds MacMaster. Available in Japan in late 2007, no date has been determined for release of E-Spec in the U.S. market.

One green wheel improvement which is available in the U.S., however, is Goodrich's new environmentally-friendly PermaStar Chrome coating compositon.

Weighing only one quarter the weight of traditional electroplated chrome, PermaStar chrome is available in both regular and black chrome colors and boasts a "better than true chrome" look, while not causing hydrogen embrittlement (weakening of alloy wheel.)

Gary Goodrich, CEO/President of Goodrich Tire says, "I feel strongly that this technology will replace much of the bright finish looks on vehicles of all kinds."

Goodrich aslo claims that DaimlerChrysler has recently signed on for use of the chrome coating on exterior car parts, including alloy wheels, and that the company continues to undergo testing with most large auto manufacturers.

PermaStar Chrome is currently being applied on many name brand automotive parts including American Eagle Alloy wheels and Edelbrock intake manifolds.