Gas-Saving Moment of the Day: Yes, Really, Check Your Tires


We don't like to get involved in political food fights, but the hash between John McCain and Barack Obama over checking your tire pressure has gotten fairly absurd, culminating in "Obama Energy Plan" tire gauges.

As we recommended earlier, keeping your tires at the proper inflation will improve your vehicle's fuel efficiency by 3% to 4%, according to the EPA, and yes, if every driver in the country did this it would save us more oil than can be found drilling offshore.

For instance, the Department of Energy estimates that, in 2005, Americans wasted 1.2 billion gallons of gas because of underinflated tires, which equates to roughly 61 million barrels of oil. Yet if the government opened every last spec of the ocean now closed to offshore drilling, the Department of the Interior estimates it would only find 17.9 billion barrels of oil, but not all at once.

This—after a minimum of five to ten years—would introduce only 200,000 barrels of oil per day to the market, or as the Energy Information Administration puts it, not enough to have "a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030."

McCain continues to ridicule Obama for the statement, but by the government’s own numbers, the Illinois senator is correct: Properly inflated tires could save around 305 million barrels before the first drop of oil stands a chance of coming out of the ocean.

The lesson? Actually put that tire gauge to use.

How Air in the Tires Became a Gauge of Candidates (Detroit Free Press)

More Gas-Saving Moments of the Day (KickingTires)

By Stephen Markley | August 8, 2008 | Comments (14)



Your first statement is valid. Stay out of the political debate. Geez, the next step will be recommending a 45 mph speed limit to save oil.

Paul D

There is no debate. Obama was right. A site like, which is a reliable source for information on this topic, should set the record straight.

There's nothing partisan about the truth.

I don't know if I consider the media, but the problem with the media is they're usually too misguided or scared to say when one side of an argument is full of it. It's not always the case, but sometimes one side is just wrong and the other's right. This isn't a political argument. McCain's wrong.


Uhh, 1.2 billion gallons of oil converts to 61 BILLION barrels?? Unless a barrel suddenly became smaller than a gallon, I think someone needs to check their math.

I think we're missing "a day" or some other measurement of time in there. We're looking into it. Thanks.

The other Dan

Hey! I got an idea!
Let's outsource our search for a president.
Drop the "born in the USA" requirement and tap into the Euro pool of politicians. Of course we'll have to lower our woman on the side standards...
But if I've only got this choice I'll go with the one who doesn't talk to us like a bunch of idiots. Where did he get the clowns who come up with this piss poor banter?

Stephen Markley

Sorry, the math was skewed due to a typo. The post points out that by using better driving practices (even just one very simple one) Americans can save gas faster and easier than the proposed drilling plan can obtain it.

Juan Carlos

the issue with all of this is that we have been doing this for years. but the messiah said it and must be true and all of us must obey.

the reality is that most of us have done all that we could do. we done the air pressure and sparks plugs and filters and all that good stuff. next to buying a prius, we have done all we could. and why can't we check the pressure and drill too? but the messiah has spoken and all who disagree hate humanity and are evil sub humans.


Because drilling does not solve the problem itself.
It is only a short period solution, but it soon catches up on our behind. And with the way I see how most people drive, it is a SHORT-LIVED solution.

Juan Carlos

you said it. is a "short-lived" solution. amen. and it isn't the solution. but is part of the solution. chevy won't come out with the volt for two more years. and you know it will more years to make it perfect and have more models. the next generation prius won't be coming out for another year and honda will take 10 years for their hydrogen.

as we check the tire pressure and wait for ford and honda and other companies to have the solution, we can drill. it will create jobs here and add money to the treasury in the form of taxes.

so you say that venezuela will simply produce less and exxon will make more money. and so? we are still going to use the same amount of gas and pay the same. but here we create more jobs and more of the money stays here rather than go to iran so they can plan to kill every jew.

and part of the problem are speculators. they see more supply and may have to drop their price. now chavez says something stupid and the price of oil goes up w/o logic or reason.

and drilling in alaska is safer than drilling in iran or iraq and takes a lot of the speculation out of it. but the messiah won't tell you that. he is too busy walking on water.

we can do it all. and remember we want more electric cars, but the chosen one will not likely give us more power plants. so get ready for the electric bill to go up. getting tech that gives the hummer 200 mpg and buidling nuclear plants and drilling and more solar and wind energy are ALL part of the solution.

we done the spark plugs and turning off the a/c. now we can drill and get going on better and greener tech.

like you said. is a "short-lived" solution. amen to that brother. if you think that the chevy volt and the next toyota prius will change the world by 2012, then let's not drill. but we no better.


Juan Carlos is right, everything is part of the solution, even the hybrid hype, it is part of the solution, not the answer to everything. Same with sun, wind, diesel, bio, drilling, the gauges, everything adds up.

The problem then will be for the countries which sell only oil, specially the ones with sour crude.

Juan Carlos

isn't the goal energy independence? here we do use our oil. and if we leave iraq, there is the potential that there wil be an actual genocide and milliosn of peopel may die. if thta indeed happens, gas might be $10 a gallon. but if we drill off CA or FL, we won't have as many issues.

immigration had amnesty, enforcement, guest worker program, and a bunchof other stuff. obama essentially voted down because the guest worker program was to end in five eyars. rather than get reform and as president/senator continue the program if it works, he basically took his support off it. and also hated the fence and other enforcement things.

rather than reaching to the other side, left-wing groups took hold on him. la raza will never let a fence go up. la raza thinks the second coming is upon us. they think we will get no enforcement at all and open borders.

the same with drilling. no new nuclear plants or refineries or drilling and alk of us are to buy solar panels as we check the air in our tires. if he wins, get ready for a heavenly kingdom where we won't get anything done.

Sean T

I was a Obama supporter until I read his energy plan. No nuclear development, no additional drilling and now he says inflate your tires. Is this the best my party can come up with!? I'm glad Hillary is still sticking around because if it comes down to Obama and McCain I'll probably end up cross voting.

Juan Carlos

short of obama dropping dead or out of the race due to some shocking scandal, hillary is out for good.

the issue with obama is that unlike mccain, he doesn't really reaches out to the other side. mccain may lose simply because he lost ohio by 10k votes and 11k people that think like ton tancredo or pat buchanan stayed home because they are angry over the mccain-kennedy immigration bill.

obama couldn't/wouldn't support the bill because it was too tough and it doesn't occur to him that perhaps 200 miles of fence are needed. the same will be with social security and healthcare.

right here greenpeace and the sierra club own obama and obama thinks like them anyway. the french get like 70%-80% of their energy from nuclear plants. and if we all get a chevy volt, we will need more plants or upgrade the ones we have. and unless the solar panels are soo good that they will do the job, we will need more plants.

there is a genocide in darfur because china needs sudan's oil and they won't let the UN security council do anything that matters. some say we let 9/11 happen because we wanted to to invade iraq to get their oil. and others say iran is next so we can get their oil. we must stop our addiction to oil so hundreds of thousands/millions of people won't die.

and if you know anything about anything, you know that speculators are drivingup the oil prices too. some pipeline catches fire and the price of the barrel goes up $10 for no good reason. if the messiah and mccain come out tomorrow and say they will dry up all the oil in US, you can bet your house that the speculators will be very angry and the price of oil will go down or not go as high.

the lesson? put the tire gauge to use as we harness the sun and the wind and get the oil we will still need from our shores. that chevy volt and toyota prius will still use oil for another decade.

the volt will go 40 miles before usinga drop of oil. maybe it could 400 miles and uses four gallons of oil. instead of iran or saudi arabia, we can get those four gallons from alaska or the everglades.

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