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Garner Police Riding on Nitrogen-filled Tires

Posted August 16, 2007
Updated August 17, 2007

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— Everyone seems to be looking for ways to save money at the gas pump. The Garner Police Department has taken a unique approach.

Officer D.A. Taylor spends most of his 12-hour shift on the road. When he isn't speaking with speeding drivers he has stopped, he's behind the wheel. In his job, he can't help but burn a lot of fuel.

Now, Garner police have a new secret weapon against the high prices at the pump – nitrogen. They're pumping it into their tires.

“It’s been used on the space shuttle, commercial aircraft for decades,” said car dealer David Hurd. “Nitrogen is not affected by normal cold and hot conditions, so you don’t have any fluctuation in the air pressure.”

As a result, nitrogen is reported to extend the life of a tire and provide better fuel economy.

“There’s approximately a 10 percent savings on gas mileage, and when you’re talking about 60 cars in a fleet, you’re talking about quite a bit of money over time,” said Garner Police Sgt. Joe Binns.

A local dealership was one of the first in the area to offer it in vehicles. They are donating it to the Garner Police Department free of charge.

“Anytime when we can save money for taxpayers, it’s worthwhile,” Binns said.

For Taylor, there’s a side benefit. Nitrogen is also known for providing a smoother ride.

“I can feel a big difference. The bridge we just went over, the jolt you felt then is normally about twice that amount,” Taylor said.

Garner is one of the first police departments to use nitrogen in their tires. You don't have to have a special vehicle or tires, but nitrogen does cost more than air. The local dealer charges $50 to fill tires normally.

72 Comments

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  • lizard Aug 18, 2007

    If everyone would just use plain air then the smog problem would be less!!! Store all those nasty little pollutants in our tires. All those little ozone monkeys.

    We could start using CO2 and cool the entire Earth. But it would starve the trees. But then we could build more buildings and stuff.

    Just some thoughts,,,just got back from a trooper golf tourney.

  • Juice E Fruit Aug 17, 2007

    One more thing: The shops offering this service are not even putting 100% nitrogen in the tires. The machines they have supposedly separate the nitrogen and hold it in a tank. I am a vendor at many dealerships around here, and when the machines were new, they put in about 95-98% nitrogen, according to the techs doing the work. Some are in the low 90's.
    So most folks getting this snake oil are really only getting about 12-14% more nitrogen than plain air.

  • Juice E Fruit Aug 17, 2007

    Hail2Opeth,
    Tell me when is the last time you saw a tire rot from the inside.

    Then get back to me with the benefits of nitrogen-filled tires.
    I've done some reading on this subject, and the general consensus among engineers is, while you might be able to measure a SLIGHT difference in the rate nitrogen diffuses through the tire more slowly than air, it is not statistically significant.
    Also not being mentioned here is this: More air leaks from between the bead of the tire and the rim than through the tire. Nitrogen does NOTHING to prevent that.
    Anyone who says they've seen a difference is simply seeing a placebo effect. It is anecdotal evidence and not relevant.

  • mick563 Aug 17, 2007

    The folks providing this service may be less than honorable. Perhaps their expertise in the subject at hand should be questioned.

  • mick563 Aug 17, 2007

    Where does the compressed air you fill your tires with come from? DUH! One nitwit salesman told me the nitrogen was also safer because it's not as flammable as the oxygen normally used to inflate tires. WHAT!!!????

  • mick563 Aug 17, 2007

    The air we breathe is 71% nitrogen idiots!

  • I know some stuff Aug 17, 2007

    Thank you fletchermse.
    yes, that article does explain.
    It also confirms, that under the conditions of the Garner Police, it won't benefit them. They have their cars checked & serviced way more often than the general public.
    If nothing else, we've accomplished the public service announcement of: Check your Tires frequently.
    Have a nice weekend all.

  • fletchermse Aug 17, 2007

    OK, found a website that explains:

    http://www.getnitrogen.org/why/index.php

    Nitrogen isn't better because it doesn't change pressure less - that part of the article is inaccurate.

  • I know some stuff Aug 17, 2007

    WRAL & Gpolice must be gullible. If it was that easy to save 10% on fuel, everyone would do it, including 'factory fill' on new cars to get the sticker rating up. Nitrogen in itself does NOT save fuel, having the Correct Tire Pressure does.
    Applications that benefit from more constant tire pressure, include aircraft, where their temps can go from -40 in the air,to several 100 degrees on landing&braking, nascar where half a psi makes enough difference between winning and losing.
    Neither situation exists in civilian cars.
    Save fuel by driving smartly, and increase your tire pressure from 30 to 32 psi, for example.

  • fletchermse Aug 17, 2007

    Something doesn't seem right about the nitrogen and pressure. All gases conform to the ideal gas law, and are subject to pressure change as a result of temperature.

    Perhaps there's something else? If so, can someone explain why nitrogen is really better for the tires?

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