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Sumimoto Plans to Sell Oil-Free Tires

We use enough gas getting from place to place, so it's good news to hear that petrochemical-filled tires may soon be a thing of the past. Sumimoto Rubber Industries, Japan's second largest tire maker, will start selling oil-free tires by 2013. The development is part of the company's larger strategy to fight global warming.

Sumimoto's new tires will use minimal oil-based raw materials while spinning more smoothly than conventional tires in order to save fuel.

Currently, Sumimoto sells 97 percent oil-free tires but they are not economical enough for mass use, as they cost 30 percent more than conventional tires. The tires are mostly made up of steel wires, vegetable oil, fibers from plant cellulose, and natural rubber. The petrochemical materials present in the tires are used to prevent aging, but oil-free replacements for these materials are under development. 

While the high price of petrochemical-free tires may be prohibitive now, dwindling oil supplies may make them seem much more reasonable in the future.

Photo Credit: Reuters

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