Low-rolling-resistance tires are all a hype today, with fuel prices on the rise. Many tire manufacturers admit to have been creating these tires for years with little demand. The biggest demand, unknown by the general public, have been manufacturers. In other words, your 35MPG car is not quite that fuel efficient but rather has a better set of tires under it.
Now, how does it work. Simply put, the tires have a better aerodynamic profile and different material compounds that result in less tire-road friction. But, what is friction? Yes, you guessed it, grip. I am not saying that these tires are not going to grip the road, but the grip level will most definitely suffer. For example, many drivers, myself included, complain how stock tires (the ones that come with new vehicles) are usually hard and often squeel at very little levels of stress. If you have never experienced this, go to an empty parking lot and make a few tight turns, your tires will squeal and anybody watching will think you are practicing for a formula 1 test drive. This changes do not mean they are not safe tires. They are just different, and usually, more expensive.
These tires will cost more, but will they save enough to offset the difference. In a recent article by USA Today, representatives from Goodyear said that the gas mileage improvement is not that great and will be offset by the usual underinflation woes most people face. In other words, a car owner has better chances of improving his or her gas mileage by doing regular checkups and keeping tires properly inflated.