Want to save big at the pump? Try nitrogen in your tires.
June 5, 2008 @ 7:14 pm
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It was inconceivable just a few years ago that gas would ever skyrocket to $4 per gallon. But the endless climb has become a harsh, costly reality for all of us who rely on our cars.

Many consumers are trying to minimize the impact on their wallets by carpooling, forgoing SUVs in favor of fuel-stingy hybrids, and flocking to mass transit in record numbers.

For those of us who don’t have feasible alternatives, our best bet is to make sure our vehicle is the most fuel efficient it can be. I want to focus on one easy, inexpensive solution that we recently highlighted in our enewsletter: Keep your tires properly inflated by replacing the air with nitrogen.

Underinflated tires force the engine to work overtime to move the vehicle. The extra effort guzzles gas in a hurry:

  • If you drive with just one tire 20% underinflated, you’ll use an additional two weeks worth of gas per year.
  • Most motorists could improve fuel economy nearly 3 percent by keeping their tires at the recommended psi.

Think your tires are at their optimum psi? Nearly one-third of all vehicles on the road have at least one tire 8 psi or more below the recommended pressure.

Nitrogen minimizes tire deflation problems because it’s more stable and less likely to leak from your tires. Learn more about the benefits of nitrogen.

And now, many automotive shops can install the nitrogen for you. It costs less than $50 for the conversion, and using the stats above, you stand to save 3-5 times that in increased fuel economy the first year alone.

We got a call from a client last week, who was raving about it. “I noticed about an 8-10 percent increase in gas mileage,” he said, explaining that he’d had the nitrogen installed on his wife’s 2004 Lexus RX-330 before driving home from North Carolina. “On the way there, we got 23.4 miles per gallon. On the way back, it was 25.1 miles per gallon, and we took the exact same route.” He brought his two other cars to us that week to have nitrogen installed.

You’ll always have consumer advocates who speak out against it, but from what I’ve seen, it’s worth the investment—unless you’re one of the rare sticklers who checks your tire pressure every time you fill up.

Interesting Note: According to a recent article in The New York Times, the Energy Department recently predicted that Americans would consume slightly less gasoline this year than last—an amazing feat that would mark the first decline since 1991.

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