File this one down in the “how did they discover that?!” department. Goodyear boffins have discovered that using soybean oil in tyres can potentially increase tread life by 10 per cent. Wow.

The discovery, made at Goodyear’s Innovation Centre in Ohio, also found that the use of the natural product could reduce the tyremaker’s use of petroleum based oil by up to seven million gallons per year.

So good for the consumer, good for the environment and good for Goodyear’s bottom line. There’s still plenty of testing to do – prototype tyres will hit Goodyear’s Texas proving grounds this year, and if all goes well, we could see soybean oil tyres on the market by 2015.