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.
By Annie B. Bond