Pump it Up
If you can remember back about 9 months ago, then Presidential hopeful Obama was ridiculed during his campaign for suggesting Americans could conserve oil and bring down prices at the pump by simply keeping their cars tuned up and maintain the rated air pressure in their tires. He was lambasted by certain conservatives like Rush Limbaugh when he suggested that these simple steps could conserve more than drilling for more oil. Well, as Time Magazine pointed out in looking at the tire-gauge solution, Obama was probably right.
Why is it that a simple, common-sense idea to save energy through conservation was made fun of? Yes, this method will not solve all of our problems. It is not THE solution, but part of the solution. Yet certain conservatives laughed at it and totally blew it off. The fact is there are many Americans out there unaware of how easy it is to keep their car tires inflated (keep reading, I'm getting to that).
Gas may not be at an all-time high any more, but Summer driving season is approaching and the price at the pump is slowly starting to creep up. As Obama suggested, one of the biggest things you can do to improve the gas mileage in your car is to keep the tires inflated to their rated value (see picture below). In my car this is 30 psi. Fueleconomy.gov says that keeping your tires at the rated pressure could improve your mileage by about 3.3 percent!
I'm lucky in that my car has an automatic sensor that tells me when one of my tires is low. Up until a year ago, whenever this sensor would come on I would hem and haw at the fact I had to go find a gas station with a pressurized air hose and get all messy inflating my tires. One day, I had a stroke of common-sense and I decided to try something when my front left tire was low. Instead of having to go find an air hose at a gas station that actually worked, I would just use my handy bicycle pump. And guess what, it worked perfectly!
Yes, it takes a little effort (about 50 pumps to raise it approx 5 psi) but not only do I get better gas mileage, I also get a full body work out! So here's what you need to do if you want to start getting better mileage, save more of your hard-earned cash, get a little arm work out, and help improve your air-quality:
- Keep a tire gauge in your glove compartment
- Check your air pressure about once every other week
- If any tires are low, fill them up with a bicycle pump
- Drive away and get more miles to each gallon!
(see Mapawatt Blog's world premiere Youtube video below!)
Tire pressure-rating label on door