Tip #5: Deal With (Tire) Inflation

by Emily Main

It’s always fun to Monday-morning-quarterback an inauguration, especially since they only come around every four years. I, personally, was a little disappointed that Obama didn’t trade the armored limousine for a super-compact Smart Car, at least on the parade route. How profound a statement would that have made for substantive change in Washington?

Oh, I’m sure armored limos make more sense for security reasons, so I was stuck scrutinizing his. And I couldn’t help wonder, were his tires properly inflated?

Much was made of last August’s Republican gag that involved tire gauges imprinted with the words “Obama’s Energy Plan,” spurred by a statement then-Candidate Obama made about how much gas could be saved (and energy saved from unnecessary coastal drilling) if people just kept their tires inflated. He was touted as na├»ve, compared to Jimmy Carter and his sweaters–but in the end, I wanted one of those tire gauges. It’s a good plan.

Whether you’re republican, democrat, libertarian or politically agnostic, if you care about the planet, you have to concede that it makes sense. Conservation is key to reducing our dependence on climate-changing fossil fuels and imported oil. Plus, it falls in line perfectly with Obama’s belief in personal responsibility and everyone chipping in to do his or her part.

The numbers are all over the map when it comes to actual gallons of gas saved by such a simple measure, but assuming all gasoline (not diesel) powered cars on American roads had properly inflated tires, the drivers could cut gas consumption by 3.3 percent. That’s about 13 million gallons of gas every day and, at current gas prices, $24 million a day that isn’t going to the oil companies. How’s that for a bail-out?

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