American Drivers Need More Air in Their Tires – The tire pressure can cause different problems and in America, drivers are not exempt from these difficulties.
With a focus on hybrid cars, systems of kinetic energy recovery and Start/Stop systems to save fuel, it is easy to forget that a very effective way to reduce consumption and emissions is right in front of us: air. A recent study by the tire manufacturer Bridgestone, suggests that not only is easy to forget, most of us often forget to check the pressure of our tires. The company revised 38,000 vehicles during 2010, and the results show that 71% of drivers drove with low pressure tires.
Bridgestone compares this figure of 71% to a loss of 3.90 billion dollars a year (500 million gallons) due to improper use of the tires. As if this was not enough, the environmental impact of contamination with 4.8 million additional tons of carbon per year, equivalent to 1.8g/km for every car on the road, could be avoided.
The low tire inflation leads to higher rolling resistance, which is an important factor in the amount of fuel used by the car. Bridgestone estimates that taking into account the road conditions and climate, the rolling resistance of the tire is between 18% and 26% of the total force on a car. Low tire pressure also affects safety by reducing the ability to grip the vehicles. It also increases the drift of the tires, resulting in more rapid wear of the tires.
Other key findings of the study are:
- 7.5% of vehicles checked had a seriously under inflated tires (0.5% severely low inflated)
- 1 in 14 drivers are putting their safety at risk because of the bad tire inflation or they are very worn.
- 2% of the tires revised have a 30% of decreased duration due to low inflation.
- 11.7% of the investigated tires had a tread depth below the minimum level of 1.6 mm.
- 12.2 million tires have been lost due to premature wear caused by the bad inflation of tires.
- 7.5% of the drivers investigated have a significantly higher fuel consumption due to the low inflation pressure.
My suggestion for every driver is to always take care of their tires, it only takes a few minutes to check the tire pressure of your tires and it can be done in a monthly basis if you are not able to do it every 2 weeks. But if your tires are already in really bad shape, I recommend you to change them now. Otherwise you may end up having to pay more when you get stuck on the side of the road due to a popped tired. Because you tried to save some money, you may end up having to pay more for: new tires, possibly rim damage, towing service, and extra time.