By Denna Bowman
When Barack Obama raised the issue of proper tyres inflation to reduce fuel consumption in the US he was mocked by the opposition in the Presidential race.
Yet the idea is gaining traction in California where air regulators are seeking a mandate to ensure tyres are properly inflated.
The state Air Resources Board has just adopted a resolution requiring ‘auto repair shops’ to check tyres pressure every time drivers bring in their vehicle for maintenance, oil changes or smog tests.
The next step is to develop detailed rules to implement the mandate, which will take effect from July 2011.
Regulators believe that widespread awareness of running tyres with the correct air pressure could lead to California saving 75 million gallons of fuel a year and using 700,000 fewer tyres.
Yet last summer, Republicans mocked then-candidate Obama for suggesting proper tyre inflation could save oil and should be part of an energy-conservation plan.
At the time the Republican National Committee and John McCain’s presidential campaign handed out pressure gauges labeled “Obama Energy Plan.”
The debate eventually died after several days when McCain acknowledged that he also thought tyre maintenance was a good idea.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimated at the time that proper tire inflation can boost gas mileage by about 3.3 percent. It recommends the step along with regular tuneups, replacing dirty air filters and removing unneeded items from the trunk.
California regulators are hoping the idea spreads to other states.