Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company’s Continued Success with Soy Technology
Goodyear has seen continued success using U.S. soybean oil in its tires. Soybean oil has proven to enhance tire performance in a variety of weather conditions and temperatures while increasing the company’s sustainability. What started in research and trials in 2008 has led to tires manufactured with U.S. soybean oil to fit 70% of cars, trucks and minivans. Furthermore, Goodyear has committed to go 100% soy in their tire tread technology by 2040.
2008: Partnership Begins
The United Soybean Board partnered with Goodyear beginning in 2008 after a crude-oil price spike prompted Goodyear to evaluate petrochemical alternatives. The partnership proposed research exploring soy oil’s potential in its products.
2012: Research Shows U.S. Soy Is Useful in Tires
Researchers at Goodyear’s Innovation Center in Akron, Ohio, discovered using soybean oil in tires increased tread life by 10% and could reduce the company’s petroleum-based oil use by up to 7 million gallons per year. Goodyear’s testing found using soy not only lowered petrochemical amounts from the tire manufacturing process but also increased efficiency by reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
August 2012: Goodyear and USB Partnership
With support from USB, Goodyear began field tests for its first tires featuring U.S. soybean oil in August 2012.
March 2014: Rolling Right Along
Goodyear announced the trials to qualify soybean oil for technical release in tire tread applications and that it was on track to sell soy tires. The company also filed patent applications. The oil content of a typical passenger tire is 8% by weight, according to USB.
August 2017: First Tires Made with U.S. Soy Available
Soybean oil hit the road in new Goodyear tires. Assurance WeatherReady tires launched for passenger vehicles. Goodyear’s interest in soybean oil included a look at sustainability, a priority for many corporations throughout the United States. What they found was a competitive advantage in soybean oil — for sustainability and performance. Rubber compounds made with soybean oil remained soft at lower temperatures, leading to enhanced traction in dry, wet and wintry conditions. Thus the name, WeatherReady.
January 2018: First-Responder Line of Tires Released
Goodyear releases Eagle Enforcer All Weather tires for law enforcement fleets. The tires, made with U.S. soybean oil, offer enhanced winter traction for a variety of pursuit vehicles.
January 2019: Eagle Exhilarate Tires Rolled Out
Goodyear released the Eagle Exhilarate tires, which offer outstanding traction and handling for faster acceleration, precise steering and the ultimate in control, outpacing its segment in wet handling, wet braking and wet cornering grip.
In 2019, Goodyear’s sustainability goals, outlined in their Corporate Responsibility Report, included increased consumption of soybean oil by 25% by 2020 and to fully replace petroleum-derived oils by 2040.
February 2020: Goodyear Releases Fourth Line of Tires
Most recently, Goodyear has released its fourth line of tires using U.S. soy. The Goodyear Assurance ComfortDrive brings comfort, performance and sustainability with ComfortFlex Technology.
April 2020: Skechers Utilizes Tread Technology in Shoes
Building off Goodyear’s discovery, Skechers recently utilized the same technology to deliver grip, stability and durability for select models of its running shoes. Skechers plans to incorporate the rubber into more styles throughout 2020, including work and safety shoes.
“This collaboration is an example of two trusted brands coming together to create a high-tech product that will truly benefit our consumer,” said Michael Greenberg, president of Skechers.
With sustainability and proven technical application and performance backing U.S. soybean oil’s place in industrial uses, other companies are likely to follow Goodyear and Skechers. For more information on soybean oil’s role in rubber and other industrial uses, visit https://soynewuses.org/common-uses/rubber/.