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Goodyear developing self-inflating car tires

August 11, 2011 | 11:26 am

The auto industry’s efforts to increase fuel economy and reduce emissions looks to pay off with the development of self-inflating tires. Tires

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. said it is experimenting with what it calls Air Maintenance Technology, which will enable tires to remain inflated at the optimum pressure without the need for any external pumps or electronics.  All components of the AMT system, including the miniaturized pump, will be fully contained within the tire.

The company said Thursday that it has a $1.5-million grant from the Department of Energy to launch a demonstration of the system in commercial truck tires.

The government of Luxembourg is paying for the company to conduct similar research for consumer tires at Goodyear’s Innovation Center in Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg.

“While the technology is complex, the idea behind the AMT system is relatively simple and powered by the tire itself as it rolls down the road,” said Jean-Claude Kihn, Goodyear senior vice president and chief technical officer.

“A tire that can maintain its own inflation is something drivers have wanted for many years. Goodyear has taken on this challenge and the progress we have made is very encouraging,” Kihn said. “This will become the kind of technological breakthrough that people will wonder how they ever lived without.”

Properly inflated tires increase fuel economy and reduce emissions. Goodyear said that underinflated tires result in a 2.5% to 3.3% decrease in fuel efficiency.  That adds up to about 10 cents a gallon or $1 to $2 per fill-up, depending on the vehicle.

RELATED:

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Used car prices continue to rise

Fuel economy ratings come up short 

-- Jerry Hirsch
Twitter.com/LATimesJerry

Photo: Goodyear racing tires at a NASCAR track in Bristol, Tenn. Credit: Associated Press

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