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John Stewart

Winter Tires, Summer Tires and Rolling Resitance

Continental's winter tires do not lag behind summer tires at all in terms of rolling resistance
 
Germany, October 2008 - Contrary to common misconceptions, winter tires have just as little rolling resistance as summer tires. This is due to the material used, their particularly low weight and their tread design. These structural measures reduce the deformation of the tire during motoring, thereby lowering rolling resistance. Therefore, it is a false economy for drivers to put off changing their tires – with the coldest part of the year now quickly drawing in, the braking capacity of winter tires is markedly better than that of summer tires. The fact that fuel consumption is higher in winter than in the summer is attributable solely to the fact that it takes the engine longer to warm up in low temperatures.

The reduction in rolling resistance has long since been one of the main objectives in the development of modern winter tires. The tire engineers at Continental have focused their attention on the products in the ContiEcoContact range. After all, the Hanover-based company has sold 160 million of them as original equipment and replacements over the past 15 years. They have managed to reduce rolling resistance successively from one model to the next, so that it is now some 20 per cent lower than in the tires prior to the launch of the Eco range. Development has now moved on to the third generation model, and the previous virtually irreconcilable development conflicts between "low rolling resistance" and "grip on a wet road surface" have been resolved to a much higher degree.
 
"As a result of our continued development work, there is no longer any difference between summer and winter tires in terms of rolling resistance," points out Dr. Burkhard Wies, Vice-President, Tire Line Development Worldwide at Continental. "In some of our models, the rolling resistance coefficient of around 1.0 cr in winter tires is even slightly lower than in their summer counterparts." Therefore, Dr. Wies has a simple explanation for the higher fuel consumption that many cars experience in winter; by necessity, it takes the engine longer to warm up in winter than in the summer. As a result, higher fuel consumption in unavoidable. His advice is that if you want to do something good for the environment, you should definitely have winter tires fitted and, if at all possible, walk occasionally, despite the poor weather.
Modern winter tires have fine tread structures in order to interlink well with the road surface on snow which has become compacted by cars or on icy surfaces. A huge number of grip edges form. This is thanks to the large number of fine, angled incisions, so-called lamellae, on their tread blocks. At the same time, the spacing between the profile blocks still has to be big enough to disperse water quickly when driving in the rain, but not so coarse as to compromise on flexibility. Treads designed in this way experience barely any more deformation in contact with the ground than modern summer tires.

The Continental Corporation is one of the top automotive suppliers worldwide. As a supplier of tires, brake systems, powertrain and chassis systems and components, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics and technical elastomers, the corporation contributes towards enhanced driving safety and protection of the global climate. Continental is also a competent partner in networked automobile communication. Today, the corporation employs approximately 150,000 at nearly 200 locations in 36 countries.

A quarter of all tires in Europe are manufactured by Continental, the market leader. When they are first manufactured, more than 30 per cent of all new European cars come out of factories fitted with Continental tires. The tire divisions are an official sponsor of the FIFA World Cup 2010™ in South Africa. For further details, please go to www.ContiSoccerWorld.de.

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John Stewart

Preparing for a safe winter driving season

It May Be Warm Now, But Winter is on the Way
 

CHARLOTTE, NC – (September 24, 2008) – It may still be just the beginning of Autumn, but it’s also prime time to start thinking ahead to Winter.

Of course the first thing that comes to mind when prepping your car for winter is tires, because once the temperature drops below 45-degrees Fahrenheit, so does an all-season tire’s ability to grip the road. Colder weather brings on a whole new set of driving challenges – slush, ice and hard packed snow. And even with all of the performance capabilities built into today’s vehicles, they will only perform as steadily and responsively as their tires allow.  And in extreme winter weather, that can mean the difference between focused braking power and out-of-control handling.
 
“It’s a fact: as temperatures drop below 45-degrees Fahrenheit, so does an all-season tire’s ability to grip the road.  And that can lead to dangerous driving conditions,” said Joerg Burfien, director of R&D, Continental Tire North America, Inc.  “Since all-season and winter tires are about as similar as sandals and snowshoes, we’ve launched a program to encourage our customers to stay safer in winter by switching to Continental Winter Tires.
 
“Summer tires just aren’t built to hold the road in the same way that winter tires do,” Burfien continued.  “During winter, drivers experience a dramatic drop in grip, meaning longer stopping distances, less driving control and by far, less safety.”
 
Winter tires are uniquely designed to deliver safety and control in snow, ice, and cold weather conditions, because they are specially engineered to deliver a substantial increase of traction over all-season radials – by as much as a 25 to 50 percent. That’s enough gripping traction and braking power to avoid a severe weather-related accident.

ContiWinterContact™ winter tires are engineered with pliable tread compounds and tread designs that remain soft and flexible in even the coldest temperatures, increasing the contact area and providing better grip on wet or icy roads.  Tread design features include more supple compounds, deeper tread grooves and smaller shoulder grooves.
 
The Continental winter tire lineup includes:
 
The ContiWinterContact TS810 -- engineered to handle unpredictable snow and wet driving conditions.
The ContiWinterContact TS810 S – built for winter driving performance.
The ContiWinterContact TS790 -- a state-of-the-art winter tire featuring exceptional handling and braking at low temperatures.

Once your car is properly outfitted with the right tires for the season, there are a number of other steps drivers can take to make sure their car is ready for when the cold weather comes.  Now is the time to give your car a thorough checkup.  You can do most of these jobs yourself, but some work really must be done by a professional.
 
Radiator: Add a dose of antifreeze to the coolant
Shocks: Should be checked.  Defective shock absorbers increase braking distance and shorten the lifetime of tires
Wiper fluid: Add a dose of frost protector
Battery: Check the acid level for optimum performance
Spark plugs: check for wear and replace if necessary
Lights:  Check and align properly for maximum efficiency
Be sure to include the following equipment in your trunk: a set of jumper cables, a snow brush/ice scraper and a de-icing spray
Winter tires: Set the pressure 2.9 psi higher than what is recommended for summer tires
Once you’ve given your car a thorough checkup, the best protection against breakdowns and accidents in winter is driving with foresight.  This includes taking extra care on bridges or at traffic lights, as well as keeping a greater following distance from the car in front.
 
“Really, the best advice we can offer drivers is to use common sense,” Burfien said.
 
For more information, visit www.CTNAMedia.com.
 
With targeted annual sales of more than $40 billion for 2008, the Continental Corporation is one of the top automotive suppliers worldwide. As a supplier of brake systems, systems and components for the powertrain and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics, tires and technical elastomers, the corporation contributes towards enhanced driving safety and protection of the global climate. Continental is also a competent partner in networked automobile communication. Today, the corporation employs approximately 150,000 people at nearly 200 locations in 36 countries.
 
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John Stewart

10 Eco-Driving Tips for Everyone

Below are a few tips to help drivers conserve fuel and save money at the pump, while at the same time helping the environment and improving traffic safety.

  1. Slow down and watch speed – Drive 55 miles per hour instead of 65 to save fuel. EPA estimates a 10-15 percent improvement in fuel economy by following this tip. Also, aim for a constant speed. Pumping the accelerator sends more fuel into the engine. Using cruise control whenever possible on the highway helps maintain speeds and conserve fuel.
  2. Accelerate and brake smoothly – Accelerating smoothly from a stop and braking softly conserves fuel. Fast starts, weaving in and out of traffic and hard braking wastes fuel and wears out some of the car components, such as brakes and tires, more quickly. Maintain a safe distance between vehicles and anticipate traffic conditions to allow for more time to brake and accelerate gradually.
  3. No idling – Today’s engines don’t need a warm up. Start the car immediately and gently drive away. Don’t leave your car idling. Prolonged idling increases emissions and wastes fuel. Turn the engine off in non-traffic situations, such as at bank and fast food drive-up windows, when idling more than 30 seconds.
  4. Check your tires – Keep tires properly inflated to the recommended tire pressure. This alone can reduce the average amount of fuel use by 3-4 percent. Under-inflated tires increase rolling resistance and reduce fuel economy. They also wear more rapidly. Check the vehicle’s door-post sticker for minimum cold tire inflation pressure.
  5. Be kind to your vehicle – Maintain proper engine tune-up to keep vehicles running efficiently. Keep the wheels aligned. Wheels that are fighting each other waste fuel. Replace air filters as recommended. Use a fuel with good detergent additives to keep the vehicle engine clean and performing efficiently. Always consult the Owner’s Manual for proper maintenance.
  6. Travel light – Avoid piling a lot of luggage on the roof rack. The added frontal area reduces aerodynamics and will hurt fuel economy, reducing it by as much as 5 percent. Remove excess weight from the vehicle. Unnecessary weight, such as unneeded items in the trunk, makes the engine work harder and consumes more fuel.
  7. Minimize use of heater and air conditioning – Use heating and air conditioning selectively to reduce the load on the engine. Decreasing your usage of the air conditioner when temperatures are above 80 degrees can help you save 10-15 percent of fuel. Use the vent setting as much as possible. Park in the shade to keep car cool and reduce the need for air conditioning.
  8. Close windows at high speeds – Don’t drive with the windows open unless your keep your speed under 50 mph. Driving with the windows open at highway speeds increases aerodynamic drag on the vehicle and lowers fuel economy.
  9. Choose the right oil – Use good quality oils with the viscosity grade recommended in the owner guide. Ford recommends SAE 5W-20 oil for most cars and trucks to provide the best fuel economy. Only oils “certified for gasoline engines” by the American Petroleum Institute (API) with the starburst symbol should be used.
  10. Consolidate trips – Plan ahead to consolidate your trips. This will enable you to bypass congested routes, lead to less idling, fewer start-ups and less stop-and-go traffic. Whenever feasible, share a ride and/or carpool.

Source: Ford Motor Company

 

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John Stewart

Ethanol Facts

How does operating a vehicle on E85 reduce CO2 (greenhouse gas) emissions by about 25%?

Consuming E85, a fuel made from natural biomass, does not contribute to greenhouse gas accumulations because the carbon from the natural biomass would have been released naturally into the earth's atmosphere when the biomass decomposed naturally.

If the carbon released during feedstock farming and the subsequent production of ethanol is taken into account, ethanol derived from corn and combined with gasoline in an E85 fuel blend still contributes about 25% less CO2 into the earth's atmosphere compared with gasoline.

What Ford vehicles can use E85?

We now offer four flex fuel vehicles — Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis, Lincoln Town Car and, for the first time, the best-selling Ford F-150. Find out if your vehicle can use E85.

Can you drive as far on a gallon of E85 as you can on a gallon of gas? If not, why would customers choose E85 fuel?

It is true that there is less energy in a gallon of ethanol than in a gallon of gas. But ethanol is often less expensive than gasoline — currently E85 costs 20-30 cents less per gallon than gasoline.

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John Stewart

Biodiesel

One of the ways to make driving more sustainable is to reduce the world's dependence on non-renewable resources. By developing vehicles capable of running on renewable fuels, such as biodiesel, we're addressing concerns about the environmental impact of driving.

Biodiesel

In the United States, biodiesel is primarily made from soybeans. It's typically sold in blends using 2 to 5 percent biodiesel (the remaining 98 to 95 percent is traditional petroleum-based diesel). These blends are called B2 or B5.

Most diesel vehicles can use B2 or B5. Diesel vehicles have been successfully operated on B20 and B100, but this is not recommended unless the vehicle's fuel system has been modified and the fuel quality controlled.

Biodiesel can also be made from waste cooking oils and animal fats, but the resulting fuel is problematic due to the wide variation in properties from these waste streams.

Benefits of Biodiesel

The use of biodiesel has several benefits:

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