This is no an April Fool’s joke - Goodyear is partnering up with the US Department of Defense to make tires out of dandelions. More specifically, a variety of dandelion that was originally discovered in 1932 in Kazakhstan, and is known as TK. Apparently, it’s a pretty good substitute for a rubber tree. During the World War II, when supplies from South East Asia and South America were threatened, it was cultivated as a rubber tree substitute in the United States, the Soviet Union, England and Germany.
If you remember your high school chemistry or biology lessons, when you pick a dandelion off your lawn, the milky white sap that comes out of the stems is latex – same stuff that comes out of the rubber tree and is used to make rubber. Yes, you need a lot of dandelions, or you need to find dandelion species with more latex. Or you could genetically engineer one – according to Mental Floss, German scientists came up with a genetically modified dandelion that produces five times more latex.
So Goodyear is looking to expand its tire production, while insulating itself from the potential supply chain disruptions that could impact deliveries from South America. At this time we don’t know when the first tires made from dandelions will make it onto American market, but we will keep you posted. In the meantime, at Goodyear Tires and Auto Repair in Santa Cruz we offer a broad range of new tire choices, not just from Goodyear, but from Continental, Doral, Yokohama and other world-class tire manufacturers. If your vehicle needs new tires or auto service, give us a call.