Sometimes it really is the simpliest things. Approximately 93.5% of European Union motorists “are driving on under-inflated tires and causing an additional 18.4 million tons of carbon dioxide to be released into the environment.”
Bridgestone Europe, according to Green Car Congress, did this study in 2006, estimating that under-inflated tires are contributing to 2.8% in fuel use wastage — or 2.14 billion gallons or 50 million barrels (more than one-half day’s global fuel use).
Bridgestone did “free safety checks on 20,300 cars in 19 EU countries in 2006. Only 6.5% of motorists had all tires correctly inflated … 39.5% had at least one tire significantly underinflated … 12.0% of cars (1 in 8) were in danger of tire failure.”
Hmm … makes you wonder at the real cost of ‘self-service’ at the car pump. No one is checking your oil and how often do most American motorists check their tire pressure. Never?
Now, in the commentary, Bud Johns had an excellent idea:
This is either baldfaced obvious or I’m blowing the chance at a billion-dollar patent: make tire filler-caps that contain a MEMS-based pressure gauge and turn RED when underinflated. That would make it obvious to you and everyone else you were wasting fuel and polluting more than necessary.
While there are cars being offered with an ABS-based tire pressure monitor (such as VW), Buds’ idea could be quickly implemented.
Actually, more easily justified in a land of endless car seats and other safety devices, as a critical (and low cost) safety device. How many fewer tire blowouts would occur if this were instituted? How many fewer accidents on the road? Bud deserves a Bud from someone for this good idea.
Well, someone should give Rafael a Bud too. “If there were [air] compressor along side the pumps, it would GREATLY increase the % of properly inflated tires. Instead of just waiting for the pump to stop, they can pump up their tires while they wait.”
There are some pretty straightforward problems out there that are problems for a mixture of cultural, sociological, technological, and financial reasons. Car air tire pressure is one of them. Anyone who pays attention to vehicles and fuel use knows about this. It contributes to pollution. It burns up fuel (in the face of Peak Oil). It increases our trade deficit.
Time to look at these straightforward challenges and institute some straightforward, practical responses. Maybe Bud and Rafael have it right … maybe not … but it should not be too hard to get America’s tires better inflated so that we can get around to Winning the Oil Endgame.