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Saving on Gasoline Could Be As Easy As Checking Tire Pressure

Posted July 3, 2007 6:39 p.m. EDT

— 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.