Do Bigger Tires Affect MPG?

2024 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison


The tires on your vehicle are vital to its safety and performance on Killeen drives and beyond. Proper tire inflation, tire tread wear, and correctly sized tires all contribute to better handling, improved stopping distance, and your vehicle’s fuel economy. Don Ringler Chevrolet’s service team has put together a complete guide about how tires affect your car, truck, or SUV’s fuel efficiency. Our team of experts answer these questions:

  • Do tires affect mpg?
  • Do bigger tires affect mpg?
  • Do bigger wheels affect mpg?
  • How much does tire weight affect mpg?
  • And more!

Start learning the answer to, “Do tires affect mpg?” and get all the information you need with the team at Don Ringler Chevrolet below!

Do Tires Affect MPG?

Yes, they do. Underinflated tires can cause anywhere from a 3 to 10% drop in fuel efficiency. For every drop of 1 pound per square inch (PSI) of air pressure, you stand to lose 0.2% lower gas mileage, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Those figures add up over the course of owning your vehicle. 

Do Bigger Tires Affect MPG Based on Their Size?

Yes, they do. But, why do bigger tires affect mpg? A corollary to this question is, “Why do bigger wheels affect mpg?” The answer has to do with rolling resistance.

Rolling resistance is the force that slows down your tires and is the friction between your tires and the ground. So, more resistance means worse fuel economy. Larger tires have more rolling resistance because it takes more energy to make a larger tire perform a single revolution versus a smaller tire. You might get 1,000 revolutions per minute on a 15-inch tire but only 950 RPMs on a 20-inch tire. However, your car travels a longer distance per revolution on bigger tires. 

Along with tire size, air drag, road quality, and more will play a role in how much rolling resistance your tires face. If you want to boost your mpg, look for low-resistance tires with thinner sidewalls, lower weight, and shallower treads. But you might sacrifice handling in tough conditions, like on slick roads in Salado.

How Much Does Tire Weight Affect MPG?

How much does tire weight affect mpg ratings? Discover our guide here:

  • Since a smaller object takes less energy to move than a larger one, larger tires require the engine to burn more fuel to move the vehicle. Thus, your mpg will be less efficient with a larger tire due to its added weight.
  • Smaller tires and wheels require less engine output and handle stop-and-go city traffic better. So, the tire’s weight will affect city mpg more than it will highway mpg.

Do Larger, Heavier Tires Have Any Benefits? 

Of course! Larger tires are great for heavy-duty vehicles to carry their weight when performing their tasks around Georgetown. Larger tires cover more distance as they roll, so they might not wear out as fast as smaller tires. They also get great gas mileage on the highway, which is why you’ll see a greater disparity between city and highway mpg on larger vehicles versus smaller vehicles. 

Learn More About Tire Care at Don Ringler Chevrolet

We’ve answered, “Do bigger wheels affect mpg?” Do you have any other questions for our team? Contact us or call (254) 275-6477, and we’ll answer. If you need car maintenance, schedule service with our Temple team. We’re happy to help in any way we can!

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