Since the beginning of 2021, new tire prices have risen by 10 to 20 percent – and “rubber inflation” is likely to continue. E-car drivers are particularly affected. But buying new tires in advance only makes partial sense.
Inflation has hit motorists with full force. And not just at the pump or, albeit to a lesser extent, with the charging current for e-cars. Prices of new and used cars and parts also rose, including tires. “The reasons for this are the ongoing corona pandemic, increased raw material and transport costs and the recent sharp rise in energy prices. Between March 2021 and March 2022, the prices of the 100 best-selling summer tires rose by almost ten percent,” reports the price comparison portal Check24.
Other experts see even larger price increases: “In my estimation, tire prices have risen by around 20 percent since the beginning of 2021,” says Stephan Helm, Chairman of the German Federal Association of Tire Dealers and Vulcanisers, of the trade journal “Automobilwoche”. The Ukraine war also plays a role, because a large part of the soot that is produced as a waste product from industrial processes and is used for tire production has so far been imported from Russia. With the sanctions against Russia, this source of supply is missing.
Motorists must bear in mind that price increases always have a delayed effect on the available goods. Incidentally, owners of electric vehicles are particularly affected by high tire prices. Tires developed for electric cars cost an average of 134.80 euros in March of this year. Normal tires were already available for 90.67 euros, as reported by “Automobilwoche”, citing a study by the tire trading platform Alzura Tyre24.
E-cars have a special feature, because of which they need slightly different tire dimensions than normal cars: Although the diameter of the tires is often very large, the tires are narrow in order to reduce rolling resistance. Since far fewer tires are currently needed for e-cars than for petrol or diesel engines, this increases unit costs.
However, prices are likely to fall in the long term because more and more e-cars are being sold and the young electric vehicles are now entering the phase where their OEM tires are worn out and need to be replaced.
Hoarding tires now because of the price increases makes only limited sense: the rubber is subject to a natural aging process. Even unused tires eventually become hard and brittle and are no longer usable. But if you already know that your rubber tires will only last one more season, you might prefer to plan the exchange sooner rather than later, for example with winter tires for the coming season.
By the way, you can save yourself the trouble of changing tires in spring and autumn – with one tire for the whole year. An all-season tire is always a compromise between good winter and summer properties: it can’t do many things perfectly, but it can’t do anything really bad either. According to TÜV Süd, the “all-rounders” have now become so good that many motorists can save themselves the double wheel set and the annoying swapping and storage.