• Apr 2nd 2009 at 8:00PM
  • 72
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]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      @boxerfanatic, tell that to the guy who's been hit by someone whos tires were under-inflated. I bet he'd love your argument about one looking out for himself.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I answered that, above, and again, I am sorry for Don's unfortunate accident. But ACCIDENTS will always happen, until the day we are each locked in our individual padded cells, by our benevolent overlord government masters, who are looking out for our safety.

        CHECK YOUR TIRES. I have 4 sets of tires, I check all of them when they are on the cars.

        The government isn't responsible for your tires, YOU ARE. If you don't care for your equipment, you are a negligent driver, it is just that damn simple.

        I checked mine this last morning before work, when was the last time you did?

        If the government takes responsibility, negligent people will take even LESS responsibility. Regulations don't make people more responsible, they make people more complacent.

        Has everyone in this country gone completely wimpy? Does the government need to wipe your bottoms for you? Warm up your milk in your sippy-cups? burp you and put you down for a nice nap?

        Grow the HELL UP, and take care of your business, including maintaining your equipment.

        "Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have ... The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases." --Thomas Jefferson

        “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety” --Benjamin Franklin
      • 6 Years Ago
      Every article relating to CARB might as well be an April Fools joke, because I can't believe they are true.

      The fact that we have an appointed panel passing legislation without public or industry comment should be disturbing to EVERYONE.

      This needs to stop.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Pfft. Talk to me when California does proper auto inspections like New Jersey does.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I guess this means we will not be drilling here and drilling now. I guess it means we will be staring at 4 to 5 dollar a gallon gasoline in the near rather than distant future. Are we this dumb or what? I will answer my own question and the answer is yes.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The peoples republic of Carb has done it again!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I can already see some crook mechanics... when the customer is not looking, they go to the back of the car and (easily) leak out a few psi air in one of the rear tires, and then walk back to the customer and say, "Ma'am, by law I need to check your tire pressure...", "Oh, see? Your rear tire is a few psi low...", "I am gonna charge you $20 to fill up your tire, and that is my standard rate..."

        • 6 Years Ago
        Yup. I keep my tire pressure at the proper levels. What if I drop my car off for an oil change, and they want $10 because they 'say' I needed air?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Same thing that happens when they "say" you need anything else done. This only gives them one more way to scam you, along with the hundreds of other currently existing methods.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If they charge to do this, I'm moving.
        • 6 Years Ago
        If it's mandatory I'd think not. Would you really move and spend more money moving out of state than you would for getting your car checked up every few months?

        • 6 Years Ago
        @Aki: The flip side is, just because a lot of people think it is true, doesn't make it true.

        Here is the original CARB proposal for anyone who cares to read it.


        For those who prefer a one-sentence summary, this is what Autoblog said: "To be completely fair, the California Air Resources Board never intended to ban black paint -- or any color of paint, for that matter."
        • 6 Years Ago
        BigRocket: just because they say they never meant it, doesn't mean that's actually try. It's called PR.
        • 6 Years Ago
        er not try, true. Wish there was an edit button.
        • 6 Years Ago
        No, they wont charge for it. And to be fair, yes, any person who has a license should at least know how. But most importantly, it absolutely should be done when you have automotive service of any kind. It takes not time at all and it could greatly improve on many factors, especially in a car crazy place like Los Angeles. It's a shame it takes a law to do it, but there is virtually no downside.
      • 6 Years Ago
      What does the country with the most people in prison need... more laws!
      • 6 Years Ago
      So - is this an example of "States Rights" trumping national regulation?

      I mean, isn't it now standard on ALL new vehicles sold in the US to have a direct tire pressure monitoring system (since 2007)? Won't this law be functionally useless in a decade, when any car who's tires' pressures are off by 25% (or roughly 8-9 psi) will trigger an idiot light on the dash?

      I mean, what's the benefit, when a tech can check the dashboard to (and possibly charge for) "checking the tire pressures" (and be within the law)?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Communist California at it's best.

      Yes checking tire pressures is a good idea but anyone that drives a car should be able to do it themselves. it really is not that hard!
        • 6 Years Ago
        You guys must have missed the part where you can decline to have it done.
        • 6 Years Ago
        quote: - "You guys must have missed the part where you can decline to have it done." -

        So, why the need for the law then?

        Seems if a business wants to offer this service and they wish to charge for it, more power to them. But, for the gov't to require it and then state that it's optional just seems to make it a completely worthless law.

        How many people do you really think will actually opt to have their pressure checked, particularly if there's a fee involved? For a free service, sure, but to pay someone to check my air pressure, no thanks.

        Nonetheless, making it optional is almost as ridiculous as even offering up this legislation in the first place.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ Phil


        Well said.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Dude, easy on the sweeping generalizations.

        This could save lives, not just gasoline. But I guess with a comment like yours I'm sure the lives of those that aren't your friends and family just mean less to you.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Definitely don't want some idiot "nanny" state law to look over me...just to check the tire pressure. Government intrusion at it's best...

        I could and am doing it on my own, CA...thank you very much.

        • 6 Years Ago
        @Jeff: Anyone living in California can continue to check tire pressure for themselves. According to the source article at Consumer Reports, "Shops will set their own prices for this service, though drivers can decline to have it done."
        • 6 Years Ago
        The fact of life is that MOST of people do not check anything on their cars whether it's tire pressure, oil level or lamps. Walk down a supermarket car park. Any time a manufacturer refuses to honor the warranty, news channels are ablaze with outrage quoting a person as saying "I got this car for ....... (insert any number of months here) and it never required maintanence...."

        On the other hand, more often than not people working in those "shops" have no idea how to adjust tire pressure properly on a given car and you can easily end up driving over or under correct tire pressure - it happened to me or my friends in Contintental Europe, UK, Canada or the USA.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ Frank

        Hrm I'm sure that doesn't have anything to do with California's high cost of living and the recession. I'm sure its just people leaving because California is turning into a Police State! oh the horror.
      • 6 Years Ago
      California seems to be a different country altogether.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is ridiculous. Dealers around here (Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN) do it for free.
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