Do larger rims increase fuel consumption?
When it comes to wheels and tyres, is it the width or the diameter that affects fuel efficiency?
Where rims and tyres are concerned, their weight and diameter can directly influence momentum.
For any given speed, wheels with wider widths and larger diameters will increase momentum.
This means more torque will be needed and hence more fuel will be consumed by the engine.
Unless the larger diameter wheels are of a lightweight design, upsizing will affect fuel economy adversely.
But moving up one size, for example, from 17 to 18 inches, is not likely to cause a significant deterioration in fuel efficiency.
An example of how a manufacturer enhances fuel efficiency can be seen in BMW’s choice of rims and tyres for its electric i3.
They are lightweight 19-inch units, but they are shod with tyres that are unusually narrow.
Having narrow tyres has two advantages – reduced rolling resistance and minimal frontal area and hence lower air resistance.
But it is hard to say whether rim size or tyre width has more influence on efficiency.