The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

Fuel Prices Rise; So Should Attention to Tire Inflation, Says Goodyear


AKRON, Ohio, Nov. 8, 2007 -- As American drivers begin to think about increased holiday travel in coming weeks, the cost of fueling the family car is higher than it has ever been in November. With this in mind, officials at the country's largest tire manufacturer, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company , are reminding motorists to seek an often overlooked cost advantage at the pump - the air pump.

Tires' importance at the gas pump is growing as gas prices climb. As of November 7, average U.S. retail gasoline prices had jumped by more than 84 cents versus year-earlier prices, according to the AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report. The pump price had risen to a nationwide average of $3.043 per gallon (regular grade), and as high as a $3.312 per gallon average on the west coast.

When ignorance of tire care is factored in, the rising fuel prices become even scarier.

"Running a tire 20 percent underinflated - only 5 to 7 pounds per square inch (psi) - can increase fuel consumption by 10 percent. That can easily cost motorists two or three miles per gallon. Not only that, but running underinflated also reduces the tire's tread life," said Bob Toth, Goodyear's general manager, auto tires.

If that's not enough, the Society of Automotive Engineers reports that 87 percent of all flat tires have a history of underinflation.

The U.S. Energy Department has reported that every pound per square inch of tire underinflation wastes 4 million gallons of gas daily in the U.S. At today's prices and with more vehicles on the road, that's a huge expense. An underinflated tire deflects more energy, increasing rolling resistance, which robs the vehicle of fuel efficiency.

Still, many motorists seem to simply ignore their tires. Survey information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that about one in every three cars has a significantly under inflated tire. According to the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), 85 percent of drivers do not know how to properly check their tire pressure.

  Additionally, a 2007 RMA survey found:

  -- Nearly seven in ten drivers say they wash their vehicles every month,
     but barely more than half check tire pressure monthly.
  -- 45 percent of drivers wrongly believe that the correct inflation
     pressure is printed on the tire sidewall. (The "maximum" inflation
     pressure is found on the tire sidewall. Instead, Goodyear reminds
     motorists to check for a sticker on the driver's door or the fuel door,
     or look in the vehicle owner's manual for the "recommended" inflation
  -- 26 percent of drivers wrongly believe the best time to check tire
     inflation is when the tires are warm, after being driven for at least a
     few miles. (Check before driving, when tires are cold.)
  -- 71 percent of drivers do not check the tire pressure in their spare

On, visitors will find extensive information on tire care, product selection and more. Site visitors can learn how a tire is made and obtain useful tire maintenance tips. Through a link, they can request a copy of the "A Guide to Tire Safety" or the "Goodyear Tire Buying Guide."

At Goodyear-owned tire and service outlets, consumers can have their tires checked for free, including an inspection of tread condition and tire inflation. Store associates will even add air, when needed, as a free consumer service.

"With fall here and winter around the corner, checking tire pressure is important because tire pressure drops 1-2 psi for every 10 degree drop in temperature," Toth said. "Keeping tires properly inflated promotes safety, helps tires wear evenly, enhances ride comfort, and maximizes fuel economy."