Tire Pressure Not Just Hot Air

08/13/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • The Guardian, NASCAR, Car Talk

The latest in the battle over energy between Obama and McCain is all about pressure -- specifically, tire pressure.

Across the pond, the Guardian's environment blog asks:

Is McCain right to mock Obama when he says tyre pressure could save Americans from having to drill offshore for more oil? Or does Obama have a point?

Tyre pressure has not traditionally been a central debating point in US presidential elections, but the topic has dominated the agenda in the few days since Barack Obama's statement that keeping tyres inflated would save enough oil to avoid having to expand offshore drilling.


But would Americans save themselves enough oil? There are an estimated 150m cars on the road in America, and according to the Power Line blog, Americans drive approximately 2,880 billion miles per year, using around 120 billion gallons of gasoline annually - that's 6 billion barrels of oil.

For a second primer on safety and fuel economy as a result of proper tire-pressure management, we also checked out NASCAR.com, where we figured they'd know a thing or two about cars:

With gas prices now hovering around $3, smart drivers care. Savvy consumers are seeking to increase fuel economy and the life of their tires by paying more attention to those rubber objects that are attached to their vehicle.

Nearly ninety percent of drivers don't check their tire inflation properly. However, this percentage is starting to drop as gas prices underinflate consumer pocketbooks.

With escalating fuel prices, the time is now for drivers to focus on simple things like proper tire pressure to maximize tire performance and increase fuel economy.

For tips on how to check your tire pressure, here's some advice from the talk radio super duo at Car Talk:

A lot of people check the pressure listed on the tires themselves, but that's actually the wrong place to look. The number on the tire is the maximum allowable air pressure -- not the recommended pressure for that tire when used on your vehicle.

The recommended tire pressure is almost always lower than the maximum tire pressure. Check your owner's manual to find out where to look on your vehicle to find the recommended measurement. This number usually is indicated either on the driver's door pillar, the glove compartment door or sometimes on the gas filler door.