High oil prices impact tire cost

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The pain at the pump keeps growing as gas prices reach an average of around five dollars and twenty cents per gallon in both Indiana and Michigan. But it’s not just gas prices that are rising due to increased oil prices. Oil prices are not only causing pain at the pump but at the autoshop too. At Zolman Tire, a high demand and low supply is causing a price increase for new tires too.

The dreaded five dollar per gallon gas prices arrived to Michiana this week. When compared to last week, prices jumped 30 cents per gallon in Indiana and 40 cents per gallon in Michigan causing drivers like South Bend resident Dontae Murphy to shuffle their expenses.

“You’ve got to put more into your gas budget, way more and that’s just taking away from what you have to do,” said Murphy.

Murphy recently replaced all four tires on his car and was surprised by the steep cost. But this is no coincidence because of simple supply and demand said vice president of Zolman Tire, Tony Milcherska.

“We’ll go and order a thousand tires and only get 250 delivered because the fill rate from the manufacturers are that short.”

Milcherska said the price of the raw materials used to make tires has also increased, including rubber compound, steel and especially petroleum products which make up about 60 percent of all US tires.

Milcherska also saw higher prices during the pandemic but the cost keeps piling on.

“Last year, we’d seen several price increases from all of our manufacturers, but just in the last six months,” said Milcherska. “we’ve seen anywhere from 10 to 30 percent on top of last year’s price increases.”

So what does that mean for tire prices? Don’t worry, we did the math.

“Usually we could get an entry-level tire for 50 or 60 dollars and now that price has crept up to 80 to 90 dollars for an entry-level tire,” said Milcherska.

It’s not only the tires that are more expensive, inflation is causing higher prices on other car parts and even wait times are getting longer too.

“With the fuel prices increasing, we’re seeing price increases on all of our automotive repair parts as well,” said Milcherska. “There are shortages on those. Stuff we could have the same day--get the car in and out. We’re seeing it may take two days or three days to get the part and get the repair done.”

As drivers there’s not much that we can do to lower the gas prices, but we can make more fuel-efficient choices.

Experts at Gasbuddy recommend to slow down a couple of miles per hour, which can boost your fuel efficiency, saving up to 25 to 50 cents per gallon. Milcherska recommends drivers to regularly maintain their vehicles, making them more fuel efficient.

While tire prices are increasing, Milcherska recommends swapping out your old tires for something that will save you money in the long run.

“Some of our tires have some technology built into them so they’re more fuel-efficient,” said Milcherska. “So, if you look at some of our fuel-efficient tires, that can save you some miles per gallon on the gas side.”

Experts predict gas prices to continue to rise throughout the summer, especially when there are major hurricanes in the Atlantic.

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