Keeping your tires properly inflated is a very good idea. An under-inflated radial can increase wear while also decreasing performance and fuel economy. But if the state of California can help it, under-inflated tires may soon be a thing of the past.
California has passed a new law requiring most auto servicing sites to check tire pressure at each visit and add air when necessary. The law will affect 40,000 businesses in the state, although the mandate does not effect body shops, car washes, glass repair shops, or parts stores. The state's government will let the service stations, smog-check stations, oil change places, and so on determine how much to charge for the check, and they must have a high-accuracy pressure gauge on hand. The tire pressure monitoring law will go into effect in July 1, 2010.
California's Air Resources Board says the state-wide law will save 75 million gallons of fuel per year, while also eliminating 700,000 metric tons of greenhouse gasses. That sounds mighty impressive, but if the Sacramento Bee is to believed, that's less than 0.5 percent of what California's greenhouse-gas reduction goals for 2020. Better is the CARB estimate that optimized tire pressure will save drivers about $12 per year (about six gallons of gas at today's prices), along with added safety and tire longevity benefits.
Those figures are based off statistics which show that vehicles lose 1% efficiency for every 3 psi a tire is low. Testing by Consumer Reports showed little or no impact on fuel economy when tire pressure is off by 10%, though most agree that low tire pressure will shorten the life of tires. Fewer tires in state landfills figures to be a good thing, too.
Check out CARB's official press release by clicking here, and find more information at the link below. Thanks for the tip, Mark!
[Source: Consumer Reports | Image: Einstein/Getty]