Saving on Gasoline Could Be As Easy As Checking Tire Pressure

Posted July 3, 2007

— Underinflated tires lead to about 1.2 billion gallons of wasted gas every year and hundreds of injuries and deaths that could have been prevented, according to a U.S. government report.

But helping to save on gas and injuries can be as easy as checking tire pressure at least once a month when tires are cool, experts say, and inflate them to the pressure recommended by the vehicle's manufacturer. In most vehicles, that can be found on the driver's side door jam.

"From the experience we've had over the years, air pressure is the last thing (motorists) check on the car," said Anthony Blackman, owner of Atlantic Tire & Service in Cary.
"They worry about air pressure when the tire's flat, and that's it."

A decrease in pressure can result from poor maintenance, driving habits, punctures, road conditions and quality of material used in tire construction.

Another option that some tire service stations use to inflate vehicles is nitrogen. Some experts say it retains tire pressure longer and slows tire degradation, but the effectiveness of the gas on safety and fuel efficiency is still unclear.

Starting in September, the federal government will require automatic tire-monitoring systems on all new passenger vehicles.


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  • djofraleigh Jul 4, 2007

    Steve's mention of Hoss's VW bug is funny. It requires the '61 or so and back models which didn't have fuel guages, but a reserved tank that you switched on when you ran out of gas, giving you about 30 more miles. We did that to a guy at the fire station, first adding a gallon a day for weeks, then, we got it all back -- First the bragging, then the crying.

  • djofraleigh Jul 4, 2007

    mrtwinturbo: where do you think nitrogen comes from? Nitrogen compounds are the basic building blocks in animal biology.

    Right, and plants, too, and nitrogen makes the difference between fat and protein. The question is how are you going to get it in gaseous form and to the service station auto tire pump. Fractional processes produce plenty of it, and they are looking for ways to dispose of it, one being pumping it back into the ground to get more fuel out. They are using it in the meat packs now to keep the meat red. Putting it in tires would be another way of using nitrogen gas.

  • Steve Crisp Jul 3, 2007

    Anyone remember the story about Dan Blocker from Bonanza? He got a new Volkswagon bug and was bragging about how good the gas mileage was. Every night the rest of the cast would top off his tank. This went on for about two weeks, then they stopped. He took the car back to the dealership complaining that something was wrong. Apparently he said that for two weeks he was getting the usual 300 miles per gallon then something changed.

  • Steve Crisp Jul 3, 2007

    I once read an article that took all these little tips on how to increase gas mileage and added up all the percentages of savings should you apply each one of them faithfully. It turned out that gas would be manufactured by your car and spew out of the tank.

    It was really funny and went to show that you can take things way too far.

  • ladyblue Jul 3, 2007

    I can quit ignoring my son always telling me Mom bring that car by at least once a month so I can check and put air in tires if needed. I drive as little as possible a month. I thought he was loco, but I better listen

  • mrtwinturbo Jul 3, 2007

    turkeydance, yes that does work, however in the hot summer months you run the risk of over heating the engine due to lack of air through the radiator. I'd rather use a little more gas than blowing hoses and sitting along a highway

  • turkeydance Jul 3, 2007

    Want to Save $20 in gas on your next beach trip? here's how:
    (other than all the regular stuff "they say"....proper
    inflation, tune-up, etc.)
    follow an 18-wheeler on the interstate. The MythBusters
    on DSC proved a Minimum of 40% gas mileage savings by
    "drafting" at highway speeds. i tried it to Charlotte.
    it works. you don't have to be dangerously close, either.

  • christinathefern Jul 3, 2007

    How about the correct size tires for your vehicle? Oversizing or undersizing (which people do in EXTREME these days) affects the gas mileage as well as HOW you drive...

    What about walking? Bicycling? Carpooling? Motorcycles?
    These all save on gas too...

    I'm not a tree-hugger, but I just had to ask:)

  • mrtwinturbo Jul 3, 2007

    djofraleigh....where do you think nitrogen comes from?
    Nitrogen compounds are the basic building blocks in animal biology.

  • djofraleigh Jul 3, 2007

    slower acceleration
    reduced top speed (55mph max, mpg increases rapidly after 45)
    proper tire inflation
    using cruise control (not on very hilly roads)
    proper vehicle lubrication
    correct transmission gears using air conditioning only at highway speeds, when needed reducing aerodynamic drag (nothing on top carriers, if possible) removing excess weight (the trunk isn't a closet) AVOID: Ethanol mix fuels - lower mpg, can damage engine parts, fools ECU O2 sensor - do not use anything to trick this, illegal, polluting ECU override - no, no, can void warranty, ruin engine (replace is better) Fuel Magnet - a waste of money Octane - use the one recommended (usually regular gas) Throttle Body Spacers - they work on older carburetors, not on computer engines Consumer fuel additives - unnecessary if you buy gas from major distributors