According to global tire manufacturer Michelin, British motorists could be spending over £1B a year and needlessly emitting more than 2B tons of CO2 per year due to under-inflated tires.
Michelin’s research suggests that three-quarters of Britain’s 31.5 million cars could have under-inflated tires, leading to unnecessary fuel consumption and excess greenhouse gas emissions.
As an averagely under-inflated tire results in roughly 3 percent less fuel efficiency, the company says an average driver could be wasting in the region of £65 a year solely due to the increased rolling resistance. Potentially, more than one billion liters of fuel could also be wasted every year because drivers are not checking tire pressures regularly enough.
Jamie McWhir, technical manager for car, van and 4x4 for Michelin in the UK, said: “Many drivers don’t relate fuel economy to their tires, when in fact 20 percent of a car’s fuel consumption is used to overcome rolling resistance. If motorists consume less fuel by having the correct tire pressure, then they produce fewer CO2 emissions and save money. In an ideal world, drivers should be checking their tire pressures every month and before each long journey. They should familiarize themselves with the tire pressures for their vehicle, which can be found in their handbook. This will ensure not only a smoother drive and peace of mind, but more pennies in the pocket.”
Last year, Michelin also found that 47 percent of drivers don’t know the correct tire pressure for their car and a whopping 60 percent rely on their partners or a mechanic to check the pressure, rather than doing it for themselves.
Several of Michelin’s competitors are also finding ways to reduce driver footprints — by building tires from more sustainable materials: Bridgestone is collaborating with biomaterials company Yulex to test the viability of a perennial shrub called guayule, which could prove to be a renewable source of natural rubber latex that could replace petroleum-based synthetics and lessen reliance on imported tropical rubber. And Goodyear is experimenting with making tires from soybean oil, which the company says could increase tread life by 10 percent and replace seven million gallons of petroleum-based oil each year.