Orange oil-infused tires are the new green for saving the environment Yokohama has introduced a new tire model that replaces 80% of the petroleum based products that used to make up a tireâ€™s composition with non-petroleum based products. The new dB Super E-spec passenger tire uses Yokohamaâ€™s Super Nano-Power Rubber compound and Advanced Inner Liner to create a tire that is 80% petroleum free, performs better than conventional tires made of vulcanized rubber, and has ultra-low rolling resistance. The new Yokohama orange oil-infused tire is their first product designed specifically for hybrid automobiles. Introduced in Japan in 2007, the dB super E-spec reconciles the conflict between low rolling resistance - key to delivering improved fuel economy - and superior grip in both wet and dry conditions while offering the quiet, comfortable ride that compliments the silent driving characteristics of hybrids. This translates directly into improved fuel economy as rolling resistance can account for up to 20 per cent of the friction that a vehicle must overcome when moving. If you reduce rolling resistance, you also reduce grip - at least that is what basic physics tells me - but Yokohama has managed to work out a nice compromise. Their engineers accomplished this by developing a rubber compound based on orange oil. Orange oil is a naturally sticky substance and, when combined molecularly with other oils, allows the compound to become soft when warm, providing more grip as the tire is driven harder, and then return to a stiffer compound during less stressful driving conditions. We tried out Yokohamaâ€™s eco-friendly tires on MINI Coopers and found that the dB Super E-spec tire is not only quiet, but provides pretty good performance for a tire that has fuel economy at the top if its design goal list. Several runs on a slalom course revealed a number of good things about these green tires with an orange heart. Road grip was good enough to keep our test MINI Cooper on track without the usual tire squeal from typical OE all-season passenger tires. Turn-in response was predictable and accepted input from the driver better than a trained Doberman. Our 50 - 0 dry braking test posted some very good numbers. From 52 mph to zero, we only needed 85 feet to come to a complete stop. TireRack tested OE and aftermarket tires in the same class and typical results from their dry braking test showed tires needed 97 to 101 feet to stop after standing on the brakes from 50 mph. Off the test course the dB Super E-spec tires had minimal road noise across rough surfaces, but more miles need to be logged on a variety of surfaces before we can fully evaluate the tireâ€™s road noise level and comfort. Yokohama has made two major breakthroughs with their dB Super E-Spec tire. The first is their new Super Nano-Power Rubber tread compound which has an extremely low rolling resistance and made from renewable resources. The orange oil, extracted from orange peel, is also vital to the tireâ€™s wet and dry performance and safety. Orange oil has a similar molecular architecture to natural rubber, also used in the dB super E-spec, making the tread compound more compliant for better traction in braking and cornering. The second big breakthrough was the Advanced Inner Liner that provides superior air retention and weighs less a lot less than a conventional butyl liner. Lighter tires improve low rolling resistance and better air retention means fewer trips to the air pump. The dB Super E-Spec, according to Yokohama, has an 11% improved rolling resistance over the Michelin HydroEdge and 22% improvement over the Goodyear Integrity. Less rolling resistance translates to better fuel economy and for every gallon of gas saved means 20 pounds less CO2 pumped into the air. Consider this a win for you with less money being spent at the gas pump and a win for the environment with fewer hydrocarbons choking us to a slow death.