Environmentally friendly tyres are the fastest way to achieve a ‘green return’ - the point at which the upfront financial and environmental costs of green vehicle technologies are recouped, and savings begin, according to a new report by the Technical University of Munich. The report, commissioned by Lanxess, a leading producer of high-performance synthetic rubbers, comes at the same time as a new EU law comes into force, requiring anyone selling a new tyre to provide a label demonstrating its fuel efficiency, safety and noise rating.

Tyre manufacturers are responding to the new law by developing ‘green tyres’ that will use advanced materials to achieve the top grades across all three label categories. The new labelling system is the first time motorists will have enough information to select tyres based on how much they will affect their annual fuel bills and carbon emissions.

To help motorists understand the labels and take advantage of the incoming changes, Lanxess has launched a free app for smartphones, tablets and web-enabled PCs. It shows motorists exactly how much money, fuel and carbon different tyres can save them, based on the car they drive, their annual mileage, and their driving style. It demonstrates that changing tyres could save around £200 per year in petrol cost and 350kg of carbon emissions if annual mileage is 10,000 miles, the car averages 35 mpg and the price of fuel is approximately £1.30 per litre. The app is available now from the Apple Appstore or by visiting www.green-tyres.org.uk.

The report shows that when compared to two of the most popular green options customers can specify on new vehicles - automatic stop-start systems and hybrid engines - greener tyres deliver a financial return three times quicker and five times quicker respectively. It also shows that the amount of carbon saved per pound spent on green tyres is 35% greater than on start-stop technologies, and 62% greater than on hybrid engines. The report also highlights that green tyres can be fitted to all cars, old and new, but stop-start technologies and hybrid engines can only be specified on new vehicles, vastly increasing the number of motorists that can benefit.

Research announced by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders earlier this year showed that the number of people buying low-emission vehicles has soared by 36% in the last five years.

"It is quite amazing that so many people are spending tens of thousands on new low-emission vehicles when comparable benefits can be achieved by spending an extra £15-£30 per corner on greener tyres," explains Kim O’Connor, UK managing director for Lanxess UK. "If more people understood that green tyres could improve fuel consumption by up to 7%, reduce annual fuel bills by hundreds of pounds, and cut CO2 emissions by up to 1kg every 60 miles, I think there would be a rapid shift in motorists’ buying behaviour. This is specifically why we have developed our app and why we want motorists and dealers to use it equally."

Lanxess has also unveiled a new website - www.green-tyres.org.uk - which provides quick access to independent information on tyre labelling and the benefits of a new breed of ‘green tyres’ that are starting to become available to motorists in the UK.