Friday, November 28, 2008

inflating tires, inflating dreams

while jogging around in the cold of boston, i noticed a number of cars with visibly low tire pressure. i wanted to leave a note for these folks -- not only can you save on gas, but you can save yourself (neha once blew out a ridiculously low tire on the highway!). a lot of fun has been made of obama's call for people to inflate their tires. but it is something small that can make a difference. from a government efficiency site:
You can improve your gas mileage by around 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires. Properly inflated tires are safer and last longer.
then i got thinking: what if joggers had a little note they carried around with them that they could drop on any windshield they saw. the green joggers! but that might be annoying for a jogger. then i thought of something better: what if parking enforcement officers had such a little note? they could drop it on the windshield of cars with visibly low tires. not only would they be helping the driver in more ways than one, they'd be helping their image -- no one likes these enforcers! sure, this might mildly slow the officers in doing their work, but i can imagine a city like san francisco thinking this was a good thing to do.


Niniane said...

I have low tire pressure and have been putting off inflating them. After reading this post, I will! Thank you for this public service announcement.

Grant said...

Good idea, Omar. However, I don't think education ALONE will do much. This has gotten a lot of air-play (so most people know about it), but I think most people still don't care. I still don't feel inclined to check my tire pressure--too much else on my mind.

What may be more effective is if you tell them where they can get their tires inflated (with a map), and, perhaps, give them a coupon for a free candy bar if they go there and inflate their tires in the next two days. Or maybe a coupon for 10 cents a gallon off gas. Perhaps you could get a gas station to support this because if they came for tires, they might also come for gas/other goodies. Or perhaps you have someone at the gas station do if for them (for free) with the purchase of a tank of gas. I think that people respond more when incentives are offered.

omar said...

niniane: get them inflated! good!

grant: i thought of the tire-inflate-where question.. the problem is that this doesn't scale that well -- you need to have a custom message depending on neighborhood. or, i guess you could just list a bunch of places on the flier (and charge the stations for the targeted ads ;)

one thing i think that is worth playing up is the safety issue -- i think people don't think too much about inflating their tires but would if safety was foregrounded.

americans, who are especially paranoid about safety issues wrt cars, should maybe see a smoking-black-lung like warning on the flier -- low pressure tires leads to longer breaking distances, higher likelihood of tire explosion at high speeds, and is a major cause of suv flip over, from what i've read.

but, i totally agree with you on incentives -- coupons and the like are likely to motivate a certain group, so why not offer it.

Lara said...

I agree with Grant. I also (somewhat humorously) an a proponent of you joggers running around with tire pumps and just fixing up those deflating tires as you see 'em. : )

I'm actually curious how prevalent a problem this is? When I drove regularly, I *never* let my tires get low -- it's just not safe, especially when you're doing high-speed driving (as I did to get to work for many years). Mine are only perpetually low now because I just don't have time to get my oil changed (overdue since August), which is when I usually get air put in the tires. But since I only piddle back and forth to the grocery store in my car, I'm not too concerned. I wonder how many people who drive a lot actually let the air pressure go.

Maxxis tyres said...

It is important to keep the tires properly inflated to last longer and be safe. This post really help car owner to be aware of their tires.