Around what percent of energy provided by gasoline is lost as heat due to rolling friction in vehicles? Is this number higher for larger vehicles likes trucks than smaller vehicles like bikes?

Ultimately, I want to know if energy loss due to ground friction is a problem and whether an attempt to decrease rolling friction can help to resolve the inefficiency?

  • $\begingroup$ There are many books that cover this, try Motor Vehicle Technology by Hillier & Pittuck as a starting point. $\endgroup$ – Solar Mike Dec 30 '19 at 11:43
  • $\begingroup$ See engineering.stackexchange.com/q/32575/10902 and do some research around the information given. $\endgroup$ – Solar Mike Dec 30 '19 at 11:44
  • $\begingroup$ Ultimately the answers are yes and yes. And some very large vehicles have relatively low friction, between steel wheels rolling on a steel surface. That's trivial and probably doesn't help you; but the real point of your question is unclear. $\endgroup$ – user_1818839 Dec 31 '19 at 19:48

There are 2 standards. One of them is called towing resistance and means obviously the slow towing force on flat solid pavement required to keep a loaded wheel rolling.

It is a fraction of wheel load and usually for cars and trucks it is in the range of 0.0045 to 0.008 and for bicycles with 120psi tire pressure 0.002. if we multiply this by 100 we get the percent factor.

Some tire manufacturers produce performance tires with less rolling resistance.

See the table in this Wikipedia article.

Wikipedia rolling resistance.


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