In a series of public events today, John McCain has ramped up his disingenuous attack on the impact proper tire inflation can have in saving energy. At a rally in South Dakota, a hyper McCain yelled to the crowd: “My opponent doesn’t want to drill. He doesn’t want nuclear power. He wants you to inflate your tires.” Earlier in the day, he said: “We’re not going to achieve energy independence by inflating our tires.”
Watch a compilation:
Of course, Obama has never suggested that proper tire pressure would “achieve energy independence.” McCain’s insincere demagoguing of this issue overlooks a crucial and important fact — ensuring proper tire pressure is a better and more immediate response than oil drilling to the nation’s pain at the pump.
In a post on the Wonk Room, Charles Territo, the director of communications for the Auto Alliance (which represents Chrysler, Ford, and GM, among others), notes some facts McCain should keep in mind:
• The Department of Energy estimates that 1.2 billion gallons of fuel were wasted in 2005 as a result of driving on under-inflated tires. • Fuel efficiency is reduced by 1% for every 3 PSI that tires are under-inflated. • Proper tire inflation can save the equivalent of about 1 tank of gas per year. • Proper tire inflation also reduces CO2 emissions. • Experts estimate that 25% of automobiles are running on tires with lower than recommended pressure, because people don’t know how to check their tires or don’t realize that tires naturally lose air over time.
Territo notes that the Auto Alliance sponsored tire pressure checks for members of Congress and their staff last week. “Surprisingly, we found that most drivers had tires between 5 and 7 pounds under inflated — some had tires under-inflated by as much as 20 pounds,” he writes. “This significantly reduced their vehicle’s fuel economy.” If conservatives truly want to take immediate action on energy, they can stop wasting time on political stunts and start checking their tires.
At his South Dakota rally, McCain yelled: “When I’m president of the United States, I’m not going to let them [Congress] go on vacation!” Brad Johnson documents McCain’s record of absenteeism on some important votes.
,Sen. Barack Obama responds: “Now two points, one, they know they’re lying about what my energy plan is, but the other thing is they’re making fun of a step that every expert says would absolutely reduce our oil consumption by 3 to 4 percent. It’s like these guys take pride in being ignorant.”
,Sen. McCain said tonight, “Obama a couple of days ago said that we ought to all inflate our tires, and I don’t disagree with that. The American Automobile Association strongly recommends it.”