Earlier this week, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) noted that “making sure your tires are properly inflated” is one of the “things that you can do individually…to save energy,” adding that “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.”
Last night on Fox News, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) expressed outrage at Obama’s comments, calling them “ludicrous” and “loony tunes”:
GINGRICH: He has a position that’s frankly ludicrous. We saw him yesterday. He suggested if we all inflated our tires, that we would solve the problem. Think about it. You ought to take that clip. I think that clip is far more devastating than today because it’s loony toons.
Is making sure your car tires are inflated properly to save energy and gas money “loony tunes?” The federal government doesn’t think so. Neither does the auto industry.
The Department of Energy estimates that (based on gas costing $3.96/gallon), “you can improve your gas mileage by around 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure” which would ultimately save “up to $0.12/gallon” or, nearly the amount of the federal gas tax ($0.18/gallon), a tax Gingrich supports repealing. Moreover, the auto industry agrees with DoE’s assessment.
But more importantly, Obama is correct to suggest that inflating tires properly and getting regular tune-ups “could save all the oil that they’re talking about getting off drilling” — and by a long shot. According to the Energy Information Administration, if Congress lifted the moratorium on offshore drilling, by 2030, oil crude production in the “lower-48″ outer continental shelf will increase by about 200,000 barrels per day. By contrast, the production offset based on Obama’s proposal will likely approach 800,000 barrels per day, immediately.
So while Gingrich is touting his “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less” scheme, car care can provide a real solution that would allow Americans to pay less at the pump today.