Today, Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) presidential campaign and the Republican National Committee are taking issue with Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) recent suggestion that Americans inflate their car tires to save on gasoline.
Both are not only falsely claiming that Obama’s energy policy is based entirely on car maintenance, but they are concurrently selling and handing out tire gauges reading “Obama’s Energy Plan” as part of a fundraising campaign. This is an odd strategy given that just last week McCain agreed with Obama’s position, saying, “My friends, let’s do that”:
McCAIN: [Obama] said that the high cost of gasoline doesn’t bother him only that it rose too quickly. Yesterday, he suggested we put air in our tires to save on gas. My friends, let’s do that. But do you think that’s enough to break our dependence on Middle Eastern oil? I don’t think so.
Of course, Obama never said proper tire pressure would “break our dependence on Middle Eastern oil.” Some of McCain’s highest level supporters — Govs. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) and Charlie Crist (R-FL) — also agree with the value of inflating car tires properly:
Both governors appealed to those with the real power to make change — average citizens — to drive slower, keep engines tuned and tires properly inflated, to buy hybrids and lower overall consumption.
“We all do have the power. Let’s not wait for government,” Schwarzenegger concluded. “Energy prices are not going back to the good old days.”
As ThinkProgress recently noted, the Department of Energy and the auto industry have said proper car care can have a significant impact on saving energy and gas money. Moreover, stock car racing giant NASCAR also agrees, urging its fans to pay attention to tire inflation pressure to increase fuel economy.
Part of McCain’s solution to energy independence and high gas prices is to “immediately” start “drilling off shore.” Such an approach would yield a savings of 6 cents/gallon two decades from now, in addition to putting to the planet in peril. By contrast, car maintenance can save 12 cents/gallon immediately.
Seth Colter Walls notes that top McCain surrogate Sen. Joe Lieberman’s (I-CT) “own website still features several press releases that treat tire efficiency as a smart idea — even a critical national security issue.”