UK drivers putting lives at risk and wasting £246 million on fuel due to incorrectly inflated tyres

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Motorists in the UK are wasting £246 million a year on fuel and putting lives at risk by driving on dangerously under-inflated tyres, according to Michelin.

After analysing data collected from more than 23,000 cars in the UK during the past eight years, the tyre manufactured revealed the following startling statistics:

62% of cars on the road are running on incorrectly inflated tyres
37% are so underinflated they are classed as ‘dangerous’ or ‘very dangerous’
5% of motorists are driving on punctured tyres

Jamie McWhir, car, van and 4×4 technical manager for Michelin tyres in the UK, commented: “The proportion of cars with dangerously under-inflated tyres has pretty much stayed the same over the eight years we have been running our Fill Up With Air events.

“That’s pretty depressing when you consider the volume of vehicles and the implications. Seriously under-inflated tyres are dangerous, they use more fuel, they wear out quicker and they cause the car to produce more pollutants and greenhouse gases.”

Michelin classifies tyres that are between 7psi and 14psi below the manufacturer’s recommendation as “dangerously underinflated”, while 14psi or more under-inflation is deemed to be “very dangerous.”

Running a car with tyres under-inflated by 7psi decreases fuel efficiency by about one mile per gallon. If average fuel consumption is assumed to be 45 miles per gallon on correctly inflated tyres, and average distance driven is 7,900 miles a year, motorists on 7psi under-inflated tyres are using on average 18.2 litres of fuel a year unnecessarily.

At an average fuel cost across diesel and unleaded of £1.18 per litre, that means 11.84 million of the UK’s 32 million cars are wasting a total of more than £254 million a year.

In addition, more than 538,000 tonnes of excess CO2 are being emitted by those cars.

McWhir added: “It’s crucial that motorists understand the importance of driving on tyres with the correct pressure, especially as they’re the only point of contact with the road and are therefore critical to the safety of the vehicle, its passengers, other road users and pedestrians.

“Last year the Department for Transport found that dangerous tyres were responsible for more than 40 per cent of vehicle defect related deaths. It is so important to fit tyres of a sufficient quality and then look after them properly.”

Under-inflated tyres hamper road-holding, braking, steering and resistance to aquaplaning. Underinflation also reduces tyre life.

Michelin recommends checking tyre pressures (including the spare tyre) at least every month and before every long journey.

Denna Bowman, Head Office

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