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Yokohama Tire Technology Cuts Petroleum Use in Tire by 80%

Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd. (YRC)—the seventh-largest tire manufacturer in the world—has developed a process that combines citrus oil with natural rubber to form a new compound it calls Super Nanopower Rubber (SNR). The major component of citrus oil is d-limonene.

The process reduces the use of petroleum products in tires by 80% and is part of YRC’s global EcoMotion environmental program. The first SNR product is the Decibel Super E-Spec, an all-new consumer passenger tire.

The fuel-saving E-Spec tire features an air permeation suppression film, a polymer lining designed to reduce air leakage from the tire, therby helping to maintain appropriate inflation levels.

Underinflated tires consume more power, thus using more fuel. The E-Spec is also a lot lighter and conserves gasoline by reducing rolling resistance by 18 percent. Low rolling resistance tires improve fuel efficiency by minimizing the energy wasted (as heat) as the tire rolls down the road.

—Jim MacMaster, executive vice president, Business Division, of Yokohama Tire Corporation

The E-Spec tire featuring the SNR compound will be available in Japan later in the year, but no date has been determined for release in the US market.



"Super Nanopower Rubber", catchy name. What's this got to do with Nano anything? Marketing?


Sounds like it. However, if they're really cutting petro inputs by 80% and can expand this to a wide variety of tyres then more (Super nano)power to 'em. The other potential saves are gravy. How durable these tyres?

I'm sure the cali citrus growers would love to see their ruined crop to Yokohama or anyone else doing this.


But can they make the tires with a lavender scent?

More seriously, I wonder how much citrus oil it takes to make a tire.

Patrick - Maryland,  USA

Wow, that's great news!!!

Now if they can only make condoms out of citrus oil.

My wife loves Orange Juice. So, this might turn out to be a really good thing, if you know what I mean .....

Though I'm not so sure about putting an orange colored rain coat on Little Elvis.


Hard to follow Patrick's post... but, for what it's worth, how much oil is used to make a tire anyway? The 18% reduction in rolling resistance seems like it should be the headline here, but that doesn't have the groovy organic cachet of fruit tires.


About durability:

low rolling resistence tires are usually hard, so they should wear slowly

but they are also lighter, which implies less material is used, so perhaps there will be less material to wear through.

like all tires, these will surely come with a lifetime rating, so this probably isn't a worry

About condoms:

please keep your private life, well, private.


Patrick, be careful. Citrus oil is food grade, but it hardens when exposed to air.


I think "Super Nanopower Rubber NR" is flubber. I mean if Fred Macmurray could make that old model T fly nano amounts should be able to lower the rolling resistance in a tire.

Harvey D.

Those of us laughing now may be crying latter. Yokohama may be doing to tyres what Toyota has done to cars + hybrids.

Making those Yokohama 'new eco-improved' tyres in Japan + China + India + Brazil = USA + European tyre manufacturers beware. Many more Goodyear factories would close.

I want (2) sets (summer + winter) for my new Prius.


If they perform just as well, traction-wise, as their standard tires than that is great indeed.

BTW- most tire manufacturers go to great efforts to reduce the weight of their tires from year to year while improving traction and reducing rolling resistance.

As an example: When Yokohama changed from the AVS Intermediates to AVS ES100's they reduced the weight by around 2.5lbs (on a 195/55/15) and increased the traction capabilities while reducing rolling resistance and increasing the lifetime of the tire slightly.

ken johnstone

No mention was wade of using pure nitrogen to reduce rolling resistance.
What I would really really like to see is a sectional outertire that you could remove for low speed in town driving but add for long, high speed (70mph)trips.


So is this Back to the Future or Forward to the Past? Making tires out of natural rubber ... hmmm ... have I heard that before? Of course petroleum use will be reduced, will this require an increase in rubber plantations (which already have accounted for significant deforestation)? Or citrus plantations?

BTW, citrus oil is an isoprene dimer, rubber an isoprene polymer, so they're not that dissimilar.

Anyway, I don't want to be a downer, this may be the Next Great Thing. But let's not take a press release hook, line, and sinker, either.


Hey ken,

For the next 12 months, why not try changing your tires every time you want to go on the highway(and then again when you get off the highway) and see if you, as joe public would find that is something you would pay extra for.

Wayne Brown

Just for the fun of it; I entered an OEM TRR (Tire Rolling Resistance) for the Toyota Prius against one with 18% less TRR into the Prius Energy Use Simulator & came up with the following figures:


Harvey D.

Wayne: Could you simulate stop and go city traffic to see what comes out?

Wayne Brown

Hi Harvey,

Yes, I can do that but, I would need a lot of detailed & complex variables from you; like an EPA or Japanese City cycle would provide. I think it would be simpler to just say that overall, 18% less TRR will translate to about a 3-4% difference in MPG(US).

Now City driving in a Prius that accelerates mildly, drives say at least 2 miles between stops, never gets up past 35 MPH on a 22 C or 72 F day without Auto A/C can pull off 78 MPG(US) pretty easily. This is however, quite a bit different than an EPA City Cycle test would stipulate but, let's go with this 78 MPG.

With OEM tires getting 78 MPG(US), you may see something like 81 MPG(US) with these Yokohama Low Rolling Resistance tires.


you can see a pdf news release from Yokohama on the super-E-spec tire below but it's in Japanese!


With respect to traction, there's actually an increase in grip over the previous generation of tire. Please note that these tires are not yet available in the U.S., and there is no date on which they'll be for sale here.

The amount of petroleum required to make each of today's tires is ot insignificant, but we don't have an 'official' number that we can share.

Part of the reason that a tire is "thick" is that air or nitrogen leaks out of the tire (another reason it's important to check tire pressure at least monthly) naturally. The new tire leaks much less air and thus can be made with a thinner wall.

Michael Hollander


How much could you lower the rolling resistance of a tire if you limited the max speed to say 100mph ?
I believe most tires are rated way above that ( and most people never drive that fast).
Are there any major gains to be made by derating cars like that to 90 or 100 mph (or even lower) ?


High speed rating tires are also better performers at low speeds partially due to stiffer sidewall construction.

Harvey D.

Thank you Wayne: An extra 2 to 3 mpg on my new Prius with lower resistance tyres will be OK.

Does anybody know when these tyres will be available in Canada? Will the new Prius have them as option? Is the price competitive?


Better traction, thinner-> lighter construction, less rolling resistance, and less petroleum use? Looks like I'm dumping my Dunlops and going back to Yokohama again the next time I need a new set of tires.


Every tire is compromise among speed rating, traction, wearing, noise, rolling resistance, etc. For the person who wanted to limit speed ratings, ask yourself, would you not want to be able to get your significant other to the hospital quickly in an emergency?

Currently, many tires carry an S Speed Rating, equivalent to 180 km/h or approx. 112 mph. Higher speed ratings are on high-performance tires, but those tend to have less durability and are more noisy. With an electric vehicle, the noisest thing would be, in the words of David Ogilvy, the "tick of the clock". Other speed ratings:

M 81 mph 130 km/h
N 87 mph 140km/h Temporary Spare Tires
P 93 mph 150 km/h
Q 99 mph 160 km/h Studless & Studdable Winter Tires
R 106 mph 170 km/h H.D. Light Truck Tires
T 118 mph 190 km/h Family Sedans & Vans
U 124 mph 200 km/h
H 130 mph 210 km/h Sport Sedans & Coupes
V 149 mph 240 km/h Sport Sedans, Coupes & Sports Cars
W 168 mph 270 km/h Exotic Sports Cars
Y 186 mph 300 km/h Exotic Sports Cars

Rajesh Tandon

I have 17 years experience in a leading tyre company in sales & marketing in Norhtern India.

I am interested to join Yokohama tyres at a suitable position. for further please contact me at [email protected]

Best regards.

Rajesh/ Mob NO. +91 991035855


keep it up very

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