Michelin Turns Yellowstone Green

This isn’t your usual “green tires” story. Michelin North America Inc. has just renewed a five-year partnership with Yellowstone National Park to help the park reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and its fleet and road maintenance budget.

Michelin originally made the agreement to assist Yellowstone with its tire replacement needs after a 2007 study commissioned by the Yellowstone Park Foundation examined the park’s greenhouse gas levels. Michelin started the partnership to help Yellowstone achieve a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2016. The money that the tire manufacturer helps the park save is diverted to other important projects that would otherwise be cut.

Why Yellowstone

Apart from the spirit of philanthropy, Michelin also gets the chance to test out its tires and prove their performance on a terrain that the company says it couldn’t replicate anywhere else.

“Yellowstone is the ideal proving ground for developing the best tires for our customers,” says Don Baldwin, product category manager for Michelin Americas Truck Tires. “These trucks operate in extreme conditions all year round. From very low to high temperatures, in varying altitudes, in both dry and wet weather, and on all kinds of surfaces — from pavement to gravel, sand to snow — these trucks have to keep working. What we’re hearing is that Michelin tires have helped them do that more efficiently.”

What Michelin Does for the Park

Michelin has helped Yellowstone save between $275,000 and $300,000 each year since 2008. Here’s how:

Tire Replacement

The tire maker has donated more than 1,400 tires for Yellowstone’s fleet. Before the partnership, Yellowstone replaced tires yearly. The tires that Michelin provides do the same work for 2 to 3 years.

Efficiency Expertise

Michelin field engineers work with Yellowstone fleet managers to optimize their tires for improved fuel economy and performance. They also provide training on mounting the tires.