As California and federal lawmakers consider ways to wean car owners off petroleum, some tire manufacturers are trying to do the same. KPCC’s Molly Peterson has this story about tire technology.
It’s worth remembering that tires used to made from a renewable resource called rubber. But since the mid-19th century, petroleum added to vulcanized and synthetic rubber has made the wheels go round and round. Petroleum’s not renewable. Japanese tire company Yokohama may have struck upon a new renewable compound that can substitute for oil products: oil made from oranges.
Engineers from the company’s racing team developed the orange oil tires. They also rely on old-fashioned rubber, available once again, to be more recyclable than traditional models. The company claims that the new materials cut petroleum use as they raise fuel efficiency – the citrus compound helps the tires grip the road better. Yokohama’s orange oil tires are available to consumers this summer, but only Prius and Honda hybrid owners will be able to peel out on them.