Petroleum, the basic component that's used to make oil, diesel fuel and gasoline, is also used in countless everyday products. Not only are plastics made out of it, but there is also a high percentage of petroleum used in the manufacturing of automobile tires. So not only are you filling up your car and lubricating your engine with petroleum, you are also using petroleum to help keep your car firmly attached to the road. However, a replacement for the use of petroleum in tires could be around the bend.
Thanks to its decades of innovation, it's hard to think of a tire company more highly regarded than Goodyear. The company developed the first all-season tire, the first tires on the moon, and much more. Through its extensive research and development department, Goodyear is now looking into alternatives to the use of petroleum in tire production.
So how does Goodyear plan to at least partially replace the need for petroleum as an ingredient in tire production? Goodyear is studying the use of soybeans – yes, you read that right – the same soybeans that are edible may soon be used in a new set of tires for your car.
The researchers at the Goodyear Innovation Center – where they perform most of their groundbreaking research – have found that using soybean oil in tires can have some impressive benefits. Not only can it potentially reduce the use of petroleum-based oil by up to seven million gallons each year, soybean oil can potentially increase tire tread life by as much as 10 percent. Imagine all that from a little bean and a lot of research.