Environmental and economic impact of using new-generation wide-base tires

Seunggu Kang, Imad L. Al-Qadi, Hasan Ozer, Mojtaba Ziyadi, John T. Harvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Purpose: New-generation wide-base tire (NG-WBT) is known for improving fuel economy and at the same time for potentially causing a greater damage to pavement. No study has been conducted to evaluate the net environmental saving of the combined system of pavements and NG-WBT. This study adopted a holistic approach (life cycle assessment [LCA] and life cycle costing [LCC]) to quantitatively evaluate the environmental and economic impact of using NG-WBT. Methods: The net effect of different levels of market penetration of NG-WBT on energy consumption, global warming potential (GWP), and cost based on the fatigue cracking and rutting performance of two different asphalt concrete (AC) pavement structures was evaluated. The performance of pavements was determined based on pavement design lives; pavement surface characteristics, and pavement critical strain responses obtained from the artificial neural network (ANN) based on finite element (FE) simulations were used to calculate design lives of pavements. Based on the calculated design lives, life cycle inventory (LCI) and cost databases, and rolling resistance (RR) models previously developed by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) were used to calculate the environmental and economic impact of the combined system. Results and discussion: The fuel economy improvement using NG-WBT is 1.5% per axle. Scenario-based case studies were conducted. Considering 0% NG-WBT market penetration (or 100% standard dual tire assembly [DTA]) as a baseline, scenario 1 assumed the same fatigue and rutting potential between NG-WBT and DTA; therefore, the only difference came from fuel economy improvement of using NG-WBT. In scenario 2, pavement fatigue cracking potential determined the pavement design life; both thick and thin AC overlay sections experienced positive net environmental savings, but mixed net economic savings. In scenario 3, pavement rutting potential determined the pavement design life; the thick AC overlay section experienced positive net environmental savings, but mixed net economic savings. The thin section experienced negative net environmental and economic savings. Conclusions: The outcomes of scenario-based case studies indicated that NG-WBT can result in significant savings in life cycle energy consumption and cost, and GWP; however, these benefits were sensitive to the method used to determine the pavement performance; especially, a small change in pavement strain can result in significant change in pavement life. In addition, the effect of fuel price/economy improvement, discount rate, and International Roughness Index (IRI) threshold values was studied in the sensitivity analyses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)753-766
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Fuel consumption
  • Infrastructure
  • Life cycle costing
  • Pavement
  • Roadway
  • Roughness
  • Tire
  • Wide-base tire

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science


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