Gas-Saving Moment of the Day: Yes, Really, Check Your Tires

By Stephen Markley  on August 8, 2008

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We don't like to get involved in political food fights, but the hash between John McCain and Barack Obama over checking your tire pressure has gotten fairly absurd, culminating in "Obama Energy Plan" tire gauges.

As we recommended earlier, keeping your tires at the proper inflation will improve your vehicle's fuel efficiency by 3% to 4%, according to the EPA, and yes, if every driver in the country did this it would save us more oil than can be found drilling offshore.

For instance, the Department of Energy estimates that, in 2005, Americans wasted 1.2 billion gallons of gas because of underinflated tires, which equates to roughly 61 million barrels of oil. Yet if the government opened every last spec of the ocean now closed to offshore drilling, the Department of the Interior estimates it would only find 17.9 billion barrels of oil, but not all at once.

This—after a minimum of five to ten years—would introduce only 200,000 barrels of oil per day to the market, or as the Energy Information Administration puts it, not enough to have "a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030."

McCain continues to ridicule Obama for the statement, but by the government’s own numbers, the Illinois senator is correct: Properly inflated tires could save around 305 million barrels before the first drop of oil stands a chance of coming out of the ocean.

The lesson? Actually put that tire gauge to use.

How Air in the Tires Became a Gauge of Candidates (Detroit Free Press)

Related:
More Gas-Saving Moments of the Day (KickingTires)