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Nitrogen inflation improves tread life, fuel economy: Study

Posted: August 1, 2014

VANCOUVER — Recent research conducted and funded by nitrogen tire inflation proponent and equipment supplier, Vancouver-based DREXAN, showed improvement in both tire tread life and vehicle fuel economy in a long-haul trucking fleet.

Drexan’s president, Konrad Mech researched and authored the study, and presented the results at the 23rd annual Clemson University Tire Industry Conference in South Carolina in March 2007.

Nitrogen filled tires maintain proper
inflation pressure for longer periods.

When used for tire inflation, nitrogen is said to all but eliminate pressure loss because the gas won’t penetrate the tire casing the way ordinary air will. As a result, tires maintain proper inflation pressure for longer periods.

Harris Transport of Winnipeg paid $8,500 to convert 65 percent of its fleet to Nitrogen. The study comprised over 177 million tread-km for 1,988 tire positions. In the tires inflated with air, a control group of 452 tire positions showed an average of 5.38 mpg, and an average tire life of 26,623 km per 32nd of tread wear. A group of 836 nitrogen-filled tires, the study says, produced 5.56 mpg, with 49,748 km per 32nd of tread wear.

That’s a fuel economy increase of 2/10ths of a mile per gallon, Mech notes, and a tread life increase of 86 percent. During the trial, the additional fuel efficiency translated to a savings of over 500,000 liters of fuel, or roughly $425,000 in fuel cost savings.

“Drexan completed the long-haul trucking trial to determine the benefits of Nitrogen tire inflation, and the results exceeded our expectations,” says Mech. “Moreover, fuel efficiency of the nitrogen inflated equipment increased by 3.3 percent even though the tire pressure of the air inflated tires was aggressively maintained. We did not expect this, so it is very good news.”

The results were obtained by measuring tread wear on an air inflated control group comprising 35 percent of the trial fleet. The results were statistically analyzed by a PhD statistician and were found to be highly significant. The final report with statistical data was submitted to Transport Canada for their in-house technical review on March 30th.

For a copy of the study, call Drexan’s Konrad Mech at 800-663-6873, or 604-431-6400, ex 2104.

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