Schwarzenegger Jumps on Obama’s ‘Proper Tire Inflation’ Bandwagon

  • Published on August 18th, 2008

Gov. distances himself from what Obama called GOP ‘ignorance’

flat tire[social_buttons]

Two weeks ago, the presumptive Democratic candidate for President of the United States, Barack Obama had the gall to suggest that proper tire inflation could actually reduce national gasoline consumption, thereby lowering our carbon emissions and reducing our demand for oil.

GOP strategists saw an opportunity to pounce on this bold claim by Senator Obama. And they, along with their friend Rush Limbaugh, lampooned and ridiculed Obama’s tire pressure assertion as a joke. The McCain campaign even went so far as handing out tire gauges branded with the slogan “Obama’s Energy Plan” to reporters traveling with Senator Obama. Let me just say this, whomever was in charge of that “brilliant” move at McCain HQ should be canned.

Today several more groups were added to the growing list of organizations that stand behind Senator Obama’s claim that properly inflated tires can indeed reduce gasoline consumption.  Speaking on behalf of these groups, and helping to launch the EcoDriving initiative were the Republican Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the Democratic Governor of Colorado Bill Ritter.

The pair were on hand in Denver on Monday (Schwarzenegger spoke via satellite link) to announce a new initiative from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the American Automobile Dealers Association called EcoDriving (EcoDrivingUSA.com), a comprehensive, nationwide effort to save consumers money at the gas pump, reduce fuel use and cut carbon dioxide emissions. The Environmental Defense Fund also participated in the launch.

By following a set of subtle and easy-to-use best practices, including proper tire inflation, for driving and vehicle maintenance, the group says a typical driver can improve mileage by about 15 percent. In addition, officials at EcoDriving claim that if just half of all drivers nationwide practiced moderate levels of EcoDriving, annual CO2 emissions could be reduced by about 100 million tons, or the equivalent of heating and powering 8.5 million households.

As part of their national campaign, automakers pledged to reach out to government, business, educators and more.  Alliance members hope to engage all 50 states, as well as major consumer organizations, in EcoDriving.  “We’re all in this together, so there’s a role for each one of us to play in being a part of the solution to these critical issues,” said said Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

“Automakers are aggressively developing and introducing new technologies, but it takes 15 years or more for these technologies to become widespread on the road.  EcoDriving helps consumers reduce carbon dioxide emissions today,” said McCurdy.

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Photo: Clemson via flickr under a Creative Commons License





About the Author

is the founder of ecopolitology and the executive editor at LiveOAK Media, a media network about the politics of energy and the environment, green business, cleantech, and green living. When not reading, writing, thinking or talking about environmental politics with anyone who will listen, Tim spends his time skiing in Colorado's high country, hiking with his dog, and getting dirty in his vegetable garden.
  • This is simple thing obama has suggested we do to save gas. Don't jump on him just cause your a republican.

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  • Jeff_NH

    I am quite sure that on an average week, properly inflating the tires on my car would not save me any money at all. That is because I ride my bike to work.

    Sure tire inflation is a good idea but it is not going to solve the problems we have. No single solution will but people need to stop thinking that if we all just hold hands and sing songs that we will solve global warming (if it can or should be solved) or dependence on foreign oil (if it can or should be solved).

    It is quite easy to blame the Republicans or "Demand that 'they' solve the problem" but if I see one more Obama bumper sticker on an SUV as it blows by me on my bike in the rain I am going to replace all of my CFLs with incandescent heat lamps.

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  • Disgruntled

    When I have time I'm sure I can. For now…
    http://nzclimatescience.net/index.php?option=com_

  • Disgruntled-

    I appreciate your enthusiasm but I don't believe for one nanosecond that global warming is part of some grand scheme to move towards a global socialist government.

    True enough about theories being based upon observable data. But I'm not going to sit here and pretend I'm a climate scientist, I will defer to the climate scientists on that one. I think our readers would find it helpful if you could pass along some citations of peer-reviewed scientific papers to support your claims.

  • the fuel saving and reduced emission from the entire nation running on properly inflated tires, is offset by the fuel wasted and increased pollution caused by the tolls on the Garden State Parkway alone; just one of hundreds of fuel wasting toll roads in the country.

  • Disgruntled

    Doc Rings,

    DON'T DO THAT! NEVER inflate your tires over the maximum recommended pressure! You are likely to get a blow out, which obviously could get you killed. Also be aware that as you drive your tires heat up and the pressure goes up, so if your at 44 psi cold you're a lot higher at highway speeds.

    I hope Obamaniac don't start jacking up their tire pressure, someone's likely to get killed…

  • Disgruntled

    Timothy,

    Under the scientific process, a theory is supposed to be based on observations. Therefore, you need OBSERVABLE DATA to form a sound theory. Of course, you are free to speculate all you want, but please don't exclaim that your speculations are proven science, because they are not.

    The theory was based on computer modelling. Fine, I have no problem with that. But, the fact is that those initial computer models, and every model since then, have proven to be wrong over the course of time. Current climate conditions are in no way out of the norm, when compared to the past several thousand years. And there is no data to support the idea that manmade CO2 emmissions are having the slightest effect on climate.

    So why are so many people claiming it to be proven scientific fact? Easy, because it's a means to an end; in this case a political objective. Lying weasels are bastardizing science to try to scare people into accepting political change that they otherwise would never accept. This has nothing to do with "saving the planet", and everything to do with creating a global socialist government. It's a flat-out lie!

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  • Mike

    You sir are a moron. The point is our problem is demand related and not supply. We have only 3% of known oil reserves and consume 40 percent of daily output. We are doomed to failure if we don’t find ways to cut consumption without stalling our economy. Drilling will give a small amount of oil in ten years and slightly lower the price. We should drill but we should also cut back on consumptions. One simple way to do that is to inflate our tires. I know the supply side problem is difficult for you to understand but think about it for a while.

    “What Obama actually said was that if people properly inflated their tires, it would replace all the oil we could get from new drilling. That is completely ridiculous! People are looking for action so this nation can meet its energy needs, and Obama’s answer is to, once again, blame the ignorant US people.”

  • Daryl

    The first line was meant as sarcasm. Hence the Question Mark.

    For some reason this was taken not as a critque of the exchange but as an Republican position statement. I never once stated my political party, I referred to all American Voters regardless of party.

    I think the Republican response was silly and did not require the attention that Obama gave to it. I then provided an answer to the town hall style question that would have been better worded for political benefit.

    Next my critque was that there seems to be impression that all Americans have no common sense when talking about energy and environmental issues. We see green math everywhere, if we all do X we will save y! This was a case of that, the response to the stunt was to insult anyone who thought it was a rather condecending answer to an important issue, not just those who made fun of it, and follow it up with an equally incorrect statement regarding the effect of following the advice.

    I never disagreed with the original statement as it is common sense, just like mine regarding winter tires is also common sense (except the Nigeria part, which is the point that gets me to the next part).

    Not all Americans drive in winter conditions, not all Americans do not change there tires in the winter.

    Lets clear the air, only about 25% of US drivers are estimated to not maintain tire pressure. Correct tire pressure is ESTIMATED to add 3% to fuel efficency per vehicle. While this number is large based on the fleet size it is nowhere near the 3% overall savings in imported oil claimed.

    New Scientist March 2007

    So my point is 75% of drivers have common sense, and the inference is that all drivers do not, so I find it insulting to state that all Americans are common sense deficient, and are adding 3% to our oil demand because they do not check their tire pressure. (Regardless of political party)

    Paul you seem like a smart gut so did you know you should check your tire pressure? Change to winter tires if you live where there is winter? Rotate and balance your tires every year? Check for uneven tire wear?

    Do you think if you asked what can I do and are told to do something you are already doing would you not find it a little condecending?

    The ecoDriving website additionally is just a common sense energy-saving camapign site, where these types of common-sense items should be promoted, again nothing here is new, it is all from the 1970s wrapped up in a fancy multimedia wrapper. That is the condecending attitiude of environmental conservation movements, like it is new and never been promoted before.

  • Doc Rings

    I am a hypermiler (driving a V8!) with tire pressures at 44psi. The car handles great, and that pressure, in addition to hypermiler techniques give me a 50% over EPA mileage estimates for my 2000 Lexus GS400.

    I average 27mpg in a 300hp V-8 car, which will hold me and my pocketbook over for another 5 years when it's time to get a new (used) PHEV car with even more mileage.

    Tire pressure, by my calculations for my car, added about an extra 15% (3mpg) to my car vice my previous pressures of around 30psi.

    Ciao,

    Doc Rings, MD

  • Daryl

    SMM Said

    "If you do a bit a research you would see that his stance is that proper tire inflation would be more realistic for ‘immediate relief’ than additional off shore drilling. He states that we have oil than is currently not being full used, and additional drill sites would be less efficient. His platform is to put 150 billion (taxed from big oil) over the next 10 years towards electric hybrids."

    I hate to tell you this but there is no immediate relief on the scale that will effect pump prices, regardless how efficent our vehicles are through measures like tire pressure. First as I indicated the savings just are not there, second Obama clearly outlines a conservation program as part of his energy plan based around common-sense items like tire pressure and tune-ups, the effect is just greatly exaggerated due to green math. (1 person who was not doing it saves x, so x times the population = Y the new savings regardless of the reality that most are doing it now).

    Windfall profit taxes on oil companies have been tried before, perhaps some history would help you as to the result.

    "In its eight years of existence, the WPT raised $79 billion in revenue, the CRS later reported. But since those payments were deductible against income, affected companies enjoyed a lower burden under the regular corporate income tax, effectively reducing the net yield to about $40 billion — a far cry from early hopes.

    Meanwhile, domestic oil production had fallen to its lowest level in 20 years. While demand had continued to rise, domestic producers had fallen behind in the search for new oil reserves. As a result, the United States had increased its reliance on foreign oil supplies. According to the American Petroleum Institute, the United States had derived about 32 percent of its energy from foreign sources in 1983. By 1986 that figure had climbed to 38 percent. Some analysts expected the trend to continue, although not everyone believed that taxes were driving the dynamic."

    Source Tax History Project: http://www.taxhistory.org

    This is how we got here in the first place! Now democrats just seem to forget the past, like the energy saving policies they have resurrected from the 1970s, I remember and I am sure the industry remembers too.

  • Absolutely, Eric. Not only that, but serious consideration must be given to our laughable (on a national scale) mass transit infrastructure.

    Disgruntled – Thank you for your remark that "There is not one single piece of statistically significant data to support the idea [of global warming] which as such does not even qualify as a theory under the scientific process.". It helps explain your other denier-delayer remarks.

    And not that it really matters whether or not you believe in anthropogenic global warming, you might want to check your sources on the definition of "theory." Assuming you wouldn't, I've gone ahead and checked Merriam-Webster for you:

    Theory:

    1: the analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another.

    2: abstract thought : speculation

    3: the general or abstract principles of a body of fact, a science, or an art (music theory).

    4 a: a belief, policy, or procedure proposed or followed as the basis of action (her method is based on the theory that all children want to learn) b: an ideal or hypothetical set of facts, principles, or circumstances —often used in the phrase in theory (in theory, we have always advocated freedom for all)

    5: a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena (the wave theory of light)

    6 a: a hypothesis assumed for the sake of argument or investigation b: an unproved assumption : conjecture c: a body of theorems presenting a concise systematic view of a subject (theory of equations).

    Not that I feel I need to defend the science, but there need not be statistical significance for one to theorize.

  • Eric Thoeming

    Stepping over dollars to pick up pennies.

    No denying that tips such as maintaining proper tire inflation help reduce fuel consumption. However, a far more significant approach, such as telecommuting and/or condensed work weeks should definitely be pursued by anyone (candidate or otherwise) who is serious about reducing fuel consumption.

  • Disgruntled

    Sorry, forgot to respond to this:

    "While we may be the “Saudi Arabia of Coal”, and while there may be billions of gallons locked away in western oil shale, going after either of those would only put us further behind the rest of the developed world in terms of cleaning up the byproducts of our fuel consumption."

    I'm not sure what exactly that's supposed to me. As far as being efficient and environmentally friendly, we do a FAR better job in the US then they do in other countries. If you oppose domestic drilling for environmental reasons, especially if you're thinking about the planet as a whole, then I'd think you'd rather have us drilling here (where we have better technology and environmental legislation) than pushing it off to Niger or Russia or other countrieas where they don't give a damn.

  • anjay

    "I think the Republican response was silly and did not require the attention that Obama gave to it."

    That pretty much sums up almost every responce/claim/lie by the republicans, however I'm with Casey when she says most americans are idiots. It would be great if Obama didnt have to dignify republican claims with a response, but Americans are so easily swayed by baseless claims and half truths he has to counter them.

  • blakmira

    How pathetic it all is that this is Obama's/Schwarzegger's/McCain's/[insert puppet's name here] solution to high oil prices!

    How about stopping unconstitutional wars and empire building in third world countries, Obomba? How about pushing alternative fuels, Sxhwarzenegger? How about a nice rest home, McCain???

  • chrispc88

    "further behind the rest of the developed world in terms of cleaning up the byproducts" – are you serious? Can you name these high and mighty countries? France perhaps – oh, but they use primarily Nuclear power… hmmm, which political party has done the most to stop nuclear power???

    The reason that the Democrats don't seem to 'get' why there is an argument about the tire inflation debate is 2 fold. 1 – We (at least most republicans I guess) know that proper vehicle maintenance will save on gas, that's been common knowledge for decades now. 2 – The lie that the minute percentage of gain if everyone (you'll never reach 100%) were to have perfectly maintained cars will somehow offset all the oil we could potentially get from Shale, ANWR, and Off Shore drilling is simply an insult to the collective American Intelligence.

    Here we have a person with possibly the least experience in history who presumes to be president of the greatest nation on Earth, and now is condescending to our common sense in assuming that a significant percentage of Americans are un-aware that proper vehicle maintenance can save on fuel consumption. Obama is a joke, plain and simple. Democrat talking heads are just as short sighted for promoting this guy (I would have had a much harder time deciding between McCain and Clinton – than McCain and Obama). On the subject of drilling, it seems strange to me, that for months the number of years it would take to gain benefit went from 7-10, then 10-15, then 20, and finally it topped off a few weeks ago when several dems on TV said it would take 30 years to get anything. Now that it is becoming abundantly clear that the majority of Americans want us to start using our own oil, they are backing off of those ridiculous claims – and of-course we're back down to 10 years. None of them will point out that the combination of Bush promoting drilling as well as the large support of Americans has ALREADY had an affect on the price at the pump!

  • Disgruntled

    Timothy-

    The "very real consequences" of a warming climate have nothing to do with it, as the "theory" of manmade global warming is a complete fraud. There is not one single piece of statistically significant data to support the idea, which as such does not even qualify as a theory under the scientific process. All they have are computer models; models which all have been proven wrong when compared to actual climate data. It's all a lie!

  • Whats NEXT

    Oh great! Now tire inflation is going to be part of the smog check.

    How about "oversized" tires causing poor mileage?

    How about the SUV stuck in gridlock traffic while the hybrids cruise by in the diamond lane?

  • Marc-

    With all due respect, you're wrong when you suggest:

    "Actually, Obama made fun of McCain for having “the gall to suggest that proper tire inflation could actually reduce national gasoline consumption” about 3 weeks ago. I distinctly remember the video clip. Funny how the brunt of the joke got switched."

    I suggest you find that video clip and watch it again. Or even better, submit the link here.

    All-

    I think many of you are ignoring a critical component of this whole debate. This is not just about energy independence and high gas prices. We are also talking about reducing (or at least stabilizing) our fossil fuel consumption because of the very real consequences of a warming climate. While we may be the "Saudi Arabia of Coal", and while there may be billions of gallons locked away in western oil shale, going after either of those would only put us further behind the rest of the developed world in terms of cleaning up the byproducts of our fuel consumption.

  • I respect the idea, but proposing this as a solution to rising energy costs is laughable and I hope Obama chokes on it. I have an idea, lets apply our knowledge of science and physics by producing cars that consume less fuel, or even no fuel. Trying new fuel efficient designs seems to be working pretty well for Honda and Toyota, somehow Dodge remains in the dark. This has the added benefit of stimulating the economy and producing jobs. Or, we could all keep driving Suburbans and check our tire pressure a couple of times a week.

  • Disgruntled

    Mike,

    No sir you are the moron. You yourself say that we should drill for oil, so why in the world would you defend this statement:

    "Making sure your tires are properly inflated – simple thing. But we could save all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling – if everybody was just inflating their tires? And getting regular tune-ups? You'd actually save just as much!"

    He didn't just say that it would be a good idea to tune up our cars and properlt inflate our tires. I know to do that without being told, thank you very much. He clearly says that IF we did that, then demand would drop so much to make additional oil supplies unneccesary! It's a complete joke of a response. Ignoring the issue itself and reality, and just blaming people's ignorance. Like people all over the country were driving around on flat tires, until Obama the Great told them to put some air in them? Please…

    America used to produce over half our oil usage. Now it's like 20%. Not because oil here is running out, but because we refuse to allow for increasd production. We haev lots of oil, and even more coal, oil shale, tar sand, etc. We're the frikken Saudi Arabia of coal. And of course we have nuclear power. We COULD be energy independent, if we wanted to.

    Observer, apparently by "hit the nail on the head", you mean that Casey shares the same "blame ignorant greedy Americans for all the world's problems" syndrome that you, Obama, and Nancy Pelosi share. Thank YOU sir, for proving MY point.

  • Marc

    Actually, Obama made fun of McCain for having "the gall to suggest that proper tire inflation could actually reduce national gasoline consumption" about 3 weeks ago. I distinctly remember the video clip. Funny how the brunt of the joke got switched.

  • SMM

    From Daryl, "It is not a platform for policy. I look to my leaders to provide a much larger picture…"

    Daryl,

    Obama's platform for policy is not tire inflation. If you do a bit a research you would see that his stance is that proper tire inflation would be more realistic for 'immediate relief' than additional off shore drilling. He states that we have oil than is currently not being full used, and additional drill sites would be less efficient. His platform is to put 150 billion (taxed from big oil) over the next 10 years towards electric hybrids. That would help the US lower oil use. This would also stimulate the economy by creating tons of addition jobs. The fact that he discredits 'immediate offshore drilling because it would help about as much as tire inflation is not his platform, it's a well educated opinion. And for Obama flip flopping on the issue, he didn't. He said that if we fully utilize the oil we have access to now, and still need more, he would vote for off shore drilling. But that is after his policies.

  • AnObserver

    Casey – you hit the nail on the head; I am just glad to hear someone else say it.

    Nice to see that 'Disgruntled' just proved your point!

  • Jim McDish

    There is little doubt that proper tire pressure does help. Improper pressure means early tire wear and replacement which in effect does waste energy. A little common sense.

    RD
    http://www.decrypt.net.tc

  • Disgruntled

    What Obama actually said was that if people properly inflated their tires, it would replace all the oil we could get from new drilling. That is completely ridiculous! People are looking for action so this nation can meet its energy needs, and Obama's answer is to, once again, blame the ignorant US people.

    Arnold is an idiot.

  • I wonder if the Straight Talk Express has had its tires checked lately?

  • PS I love when people like Daryl make huge leaps that one statement regarding a specific group of people (the tire pressure brigade) is also somehow also about the entirety of Republican voters. Sorry, not buying into that. And neither should you, Daryl.

    By the way, seen these interesting people? http://www.republicansforobama.org/

  • No Daryl, that's not what I was referring to. I was referring to this site http://ecodrivingusa.com/, mentioned in the article.

  • Daryl

    Common sense, a political policy?

    Lets put the extrapolation into another common sense driving tip regarding tires…

    Put on winter tires in the winter. Fuel is wasted spinning the tires driving up an icy hill by millions of motorists each year, this will save all the imported oil from Nigeria,and will save the planet.
    (same with chains in the mountain regions)

    It is not a platform for policy. I look to my leaders to provide a much larger picture, I realize it was in response to a “what can I do?” question, but it should have been left at that. OBama went ahead and defended this position with an attack calling those making fun of it “ignorant”, the stunt should have been ignored as it did not require a response. What he in reality and by extension was saying was that the Average American who he wants to vote for him was completely without any common sense, a feeling echoed throughout the environmental movement and one I personally find offensive.

    This is a throwback to 1970’s policies that allowed energy efficency to increase 30% in the USA after the oil shortage. The conservation policies of today are all like that, common sense things nearly everyone is doing ( which is about the best you can ever hope for )as a part of their growing up in this period. It is like people think that we reverted, stopped making energy star compliant appliances, stopped insulating our new homes, stopped buying more efficient furnaces as replacements, etc,etc.

    And frankly all started driving on deflated tires.

    This is completely untrue and is really another example of green math at work. While it was an answer for a political stage, it really shows a lack of historical perspective from a “CHANGE” candidate.

    My answer would have been to make sure to do all the energy saving things we learned as children, turn out the lights, keep our vehicles maintained, do not run the hot water, the things your parents scolded you for as a child was to save them money on energy which equates to efficency. Everyone knows what they are and the opening for attack from the other side is not there.

    He could have also followed Gore’s only idea of merit and encourage people to invest in alternative energy companies ( of your choice not Al Gore’s )to help them research and develop solutions and maybe even make some money for yourself, which he would then tax the heck out of.

  • Casey

    "According to Power Line, it would take 11,308 years of properly inflated tires to equal all the oil folks would like to get from drilling"

    that wasn't the point. the point was that properly inflated tires would save you more money in fuel than the lift of the offshore drilling ban could bring down gas prices as all of our reserves only amount to 3% of the world supply.

    this is why obama will lose. most Americans are idiots. they don't do their homework and they can comprehend complicated ideas. no issues are black and white and most Americans can't wrap they head around nuanced arguments. if it isn't a sound bite than it doesn't exist. we're all screwed. Its time to bomb Iran and watch fuel hit $10 a gallon as we create another 10 million terrorists, give up our civil liberties and watch all of our allies burn our flag.

  • Daryl-

    I think you make a valid point. But as you also seem to hint at, this is not a policy proposal in itself, despite what the McCain camp tried to make it sound like. If the Republicans are all about personal freedoms and responsibility, you would think they would jump all over something like this as a positive step, not a negative one.

    I wish these suggestions were common sense things that nearly everyone is doing, but I'm afraid they're not. I am not at all offended by a suggestion that properly inflated tires can increase fuel efficiency, it is just leadership of another flavor. And frankly, I welcome it much more than the type of leadership that tells me I should go shopping more.

    And as to your suggestion about investing in cleantech, while that is a great idea, it is not an option for millions of American families who are living paycheck to paycheck as it is. Why echo the sentiment of Gore, when the broader strategy has to include all of these things?

  • a patron

    According to Power Line, it would take 11,308 years of properly inflated tires to equal all the oil folks would like to get from drilling.

  • This is so inspiring to see politicians of note on both sides pitching a common sense, take action approach. Kudos to Schwarzenegger for not going along with the shenanigans of others in his party, and focusing more on real solutions, not divisive nonsense.