Check Your Tire Pressure, Save Gas

The U.S. Department of Energy claims that you can improve your gas mileage by around 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. I learned the benefits of checking my tires on a long hot road trip that entailed 16 hours of driving on the highway and countless shorter trips once I had reached my destination. Here’s what I discovered:

I took the trip to visit my daughter for parents’ weekend at the summer program she is attending. I might not have planned to drive so far given gas prices and the impact of Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” on my consumer’s conscience. But this trip was a high priority for me.

The highways were full of summer travelers with gear such as bikes, and all of us on the road were suffering from high fuel prices, heat, and heavy traffic. I at least was aware of the environmental cost of a single driver traveling so far. I was a bit heartened to remember the Tim Flannery quote in his book The Weather Makers, noting that “[We] can, in a few months … easily attain the 70 percent reduction in emissions required to stabilize the earth’s climate. All it takes are a few changes to [our] personal life, none of which requires serious sacrifice.” Every bit counts! So what could I do?

The U.S. Department of Energy claims that you can improve your gas mileage by around 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. You can buy a tire gauge at an auto parts store (electronic ones cost about $10). They key is to check the tires when they are cool, to check the tire’s pressure more than a few times a year, and to locate a local garage that has a good and easy-to-use air pressure hose.

I checked my tires every morning of the three days of traveling, and needed to adjust them every time. Gaining a 3.3 percent improvement in gas mileage was better than nothing: Every bit counts.

Learn how to check your tires here.

By Annie B. Bond

23 comments

Kathy Nickariel
Kathy Nickariel7 years ago

to cope with the rising fuel prices, here in singapore, im not sure if america does, we've promoted people to switch natural gas-fueled vehicles and water-fueled vehicles are available now too! Natural gas fuel costs half the price of fuel

Bobbi C.
Bobbi C.7 years ago

Just had my car done, everything checks out. Have it done twice a year and tires rotated. Bobbi

Debbie C.
Debbie C.7 years ago

I'm overdue in checking my tire pressure. Thanks for the reminder!

Deborah Mccormick

I CHECK MY TIRES EVERY WEEK!

Jeanne Macdonald
Jeanne M.7 years ago

It is not only a gas-saving measure, it also lengthens the life of your tires.

Rhiannon Myst
Rhiannon Myst7 years ago

excellent idea and most ppl overlook doin this.

Deidre Williams
Deidre Williams7 years ago

I have a really great mechanic who services, warrants, and does a lot of stuff to keep my car on the road! I wouldn't be without him now for anything!!

Tiger Rose
Tiger Rose7 years ago

Of course proper tire pressure is helpful in stretching fuel mileage, too much pressure can be as bad, or even worse than low air pressure.

Then again, a clean air filter, regular oil changes, & following the vehicle manufacturers maintenance schedule are all imperative to stretching out fuel mileage too. You take care of your vehicle, & drive conservatively, rather than aggressively, & it will reward you not only with added fuel mileage, but renewed reliability as well.

CATHERINE C.
CATHERINE C.7 years ago

When I had a car, I checked my tire pressure frequently! Glad that I do not drive now but take the bus instead! Thank God for public transportation; just maybe, more people will NOW be doing just that!

Jo Q.
Jo Q.7 years ago

We got tire pressure monitor caps for all of our tires so all we have to do is look at them while we are getting in the vehicle. So much easier.